An open letter from International Physicians for the Prevention
of Nuclear War to the Murderers of Mayor Itoh of Nagasaki
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 you killed a man who was apparently an obstacle to your
criminal enterprises. We wonder if you have any idea what you have taken from
Mayor Iccho Itoh was born only two weeks after the atomic
bombing of Nagasaki by the United States on August 9, 1945. Defined by that monstrous
act of war along with the other hibakusha of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Mayor Itoh
devoted his life to making sure that nuclear weapons would never be used again.
Without rancor or ill will, he quietly and persistently went about the business
of campaigning for the elimination of nuclear weapons from the world. He wanted
Nagasaki to be seen across the world as a place that had stared death in the face
and come back to life; as a place that, reduced to radioactive cinders by war,
had risen as a champion of peace and a symbol of hope. You snuffed out his life
because he refused to sanction the institutionalized greed and violence on which
On November 7, 1995, Mayor Itoh pleaded with the International
Court of Justice to "bring strength and hope, not only to the citizens of Nagasaki
and Hiroshima, but to all the peace-loving people of the world" by declaring the
possession of nuclear weapons to be a violation of international law. The abolition
of nuclear weapons, he told the judges, "will contribute more than anything else
to the repose of the souls of the 214,000 people who perished in the atomic wastelands
of Nagasaki and Hiroshima 50 years ago."
For the past decade he had worked
tirelessly as vice president of Mayors For Peace to help rally the support of
mayors around the world for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons by the year 2020.
Speaking at the United Nations in May 2000, he said that the people of Nagasaki
and Hiroshima were not motivated by "hatred or resentment over events of the past.
Our only reason is our clear knowledge, gained from the miserable experience of
the atomic bombings 55 years ago, that nuclear weapons are inhumane tools of indiscriminate,
mass destruction that violate all rules of international law." At the 2005 Review
of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Mayor Itoh led a Mayors For Peace delegation
through the streets of New York, followed by tens of thousands of people who shared
his vision of a future in which nuclear war was no longer a possibility.
What you have not taken away from us through this cowardly act - what you could
never take away - is our determination to fulfill Mayor Itoh's vision. For more
than 25 years, IPPNW has stood with the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and with
all people who renounce nuclear weapons and the culture of war and violence of
which nuclear weapons are the ultimate, though not the only, instrument. We stand
with them now in condemning you for this single act of violence, with a single
gun, against a single man who stood for something far greater than the agenda
for which you killed him. As physicians, medical students, and health professionals
committed to nuclear abolition and to a peaceful world, we pledge to see Mayor
Itoh's work through to a successful conclusion.
IPPNW, a global federation
of physicians and affiliates in 60 countries, received the Nobel Peace Prize in
1985. It has recently launched an International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
(ICAN) in partnership with the Cities are Not Targets (CANT) campaign of Mayors
Read Mayor Itoh's Nagasaki
Peace Declaration 2006
April 19, 2007