Rallying for climate and nuclear solutions

Young Japanese citizens prepare for United Nations Summit for the Future in September in Tokyo

In a curtain-raiser to the United Nations Summit of the Future slated for September in Tokyo, a Future Action Festival was held this week at Japan’s National Stadium drawing a crowd of 66,000 and reaching over half a million viewers via live streaming.

Youth and citizen groups convened to foster a deeper understanding and take a proactive stance on the twin global dangers of nuclear disarmament and solutions to the climate crisis.

The festival featured interactive quizzes displayed on large screens, offering attendees a collective learning experience about the complex global crises. A panel discussion with Kaoru Nemoto of the United Nations Information Center and other youth delegates explored solutions to nuclear weapon proliferation and the climate crisis.

Performances included the A-bombed Piano, a relic from Hiroshima that survived the atomic bombing in 1945 and others that highlighted the value of peace through music and dances.

Yuki Tokuda, co-founder of GeNuine, shared her insights from a youth awareness survey conducted before the event which revealed that 80% of respondents felt their voices on global threats were not being heard.

“This suggests a systemic issue, not merely a matter of personal perception, which is discouraging the younger generation from engaging with vital issues,” she said.

Yuki Tokuda
Yuki Tokuda, co-founder of GeNuine (left).

Yuki Tominaga, a third-generation Hibakusha, captivated the audience with her dance performance which was inspired by her grandmother’s life as a storyteller sharing her experiences of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima.

“My grandmother would begin her account with her own experiences of the bombing but then expand her narrative to include her visits to places like India and Pakistan, countries with nuclear arsenals,” Tominaga said. “The tragedy of Hiroshima is an ongoing story, urging us to spread the message of peace to future generations.”

The Youth Attitude Survey also showed that 90% of young Japanese felt marginalised from the decision-making that affected their lives.

Supporters including Felipe Paullier, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, Orlando Bloom, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and Melissa Park, Executive Director of ICAN, voiced their encouragement for the event.

The upcoming UN Summit of the Future offers a pivotal platform for youth engagement, with a Joint Statement encompassing key areas like climate crisis resolution, nuclear disarmament, youth participation in decision-making, and UN reform—serving as a testament to the collective will to influence global policies. The joint statement articulates the following series of actionable steps. (INPS Japan)

Watch video.

  • Most read