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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  August 6, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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08/06/15 08/06/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> a short time ago, a plane dropped one bomb on hiroshima and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. that bomb has more power than 20,000 tons of tnt. amy: it was 70 years ago today at 8:15 in the morning when the u.s. dropped the world's first atomic bomb on the japanese city of hiroshima. destruction from the bomb was massive. shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some
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140,000 people. three days later, the u.s. dropped a second atomic bomb on the japanese city of nagasaki, killing another 74,000 people. today, tens of thousands gathered in hiroshima to remember. [bells toll] amy: today, in a rare extended interview, we'll go to tokyo to speak with acclaimed japanese novelist and winner of the 1994 nobel prize for literature kenzaburo oe. now 80 years old, he is one of japan's most respected intellectuals and humanitarians. >> if mr. obama were to come to the memorial ceremony, what he could do is come together with the survivors ensure that moment of silence and also express considering the issue of nuclear weapons from the humanity and how important nuclear abolition
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is from that perspective, think would be the most important thing and the most important thing that any policy or representative could do at this time. amy: then we'll go from the target to the birthplace of the bomb, we will go to or hundreds of peace activists are marching today. >> the disarmament of los alamos and trying to raise the conversation that we should not continue to work on the manufacture and develop meant of nuclear weapons. amy: we will speak with activists reverend john dear and with the keynote speaker for today's events, civil rights icon reverend james lawson also dr. martin luther king junior called him the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has ramped up
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his push for congress to accept the historic nuclear deal with iran, comparing arguments against the deal to those heard in the lead up to the invasion of iraq. in his speech wednesday, obama said iranian hardliners who reject the nuclear deal and chant "death to america" are "making common cause with the republican caucus." ultimately, obama said, the decision to support or reject the nuclear deal comes down to a choice between diplomacy with iran and war. >> rejection of this deal leaves any u.s. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option -- another war in the middle east. amy: in news from europe, an overcrowded fishing boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized in the mediterranean sea off the coast of libya wednesday. at least 25 people died and as many as 100 more are feared to have drowned, according to italian officials. human rights groups say at least
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2000 migrants have died this year trying to cross the mediterranean to reach europe. meanwhile, australian officials announced they have turned away more than 600 asylum seekers at sea over the last two years. in addition of turning way boats, australia has sent migrants do reach australian shores to long-term detention camps on the islands of papua new guinea and nauru. the united nations has criticized harsh border patrols. on thursday, immigration minister peter dutton spoke . >> today we celebrate that we have not had a successful people smuggling venture in a year and over the last 18 months or so we turned back 20 boats and stop 633 people from arriving in our country. it is a significant achievement. amy: an egyptian militant group linked to isil has reportedly taken a croatian man hostage and has threatened to kill him within 48 hours unless the
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government releases female muslim prisoners. the video shows a man kneeling in a jumpsuit in front of a masked man with a knife. he identifies himself as tomislav salopek and says in -- the militant group behind the video and the kidnapping is reported to be the sinai province, which pledged allegiance to isil in 2014. the video's release comes as egypt prepares to host hundreds of foreign officials at today's inauguration of the expansion of $8.5 billion the suez canal. pentagon officials say the united states has launched its first drone strike into syria from turkey's incirlik air base. turkey opened the airbase to u.s. strike aircrafts last month, following the deadly attack in the kurdish city of suruc. the airstrike comes as the u.s. and turkey are planning a joint campaign to push isil from a 60-mile-long strip of northern syria along the turkish border in hiroshima, japan, temple bells tolled this morning as a solemn crowd marked 70 years since the united states dropped
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the world's first atomic bomb on the city. shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people -- nearly half of the town's population. hiroshima mayor kazumi matsui marked the anniversary by calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. >> in order for us to live together, we need to end the use of all nuclear weapons, the ultimate in inhumane pure evil in the moment to get this done is now. amy: three days after the atomic bombing of hiroshima, the united states dropped a second atomic bomb on nagasaki, killing another 74,000 people. we'll have more on the bombings with nobel prize-winning japanese novelist kenzaburo oe after headlines. in other news from japan, at least 25 people have died amid record-breaking heat. tuesday marked tokyo's fifth consecutive day of temperatures over 95 degrees fahrenheit making it the longest such heat wave on record. in another sign of climate change, puerto rico is also facing an extreme drought, even
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-- dry conditions have prompted the government to extend water rationing to more people meaning a total of 400,000 residents will now receive water only every third day. in california, meanwhile, the largest of many drought-fueled wildfires has expanded to 106 square miles, crossing highways and defying attempts to bring it under control. this year is on pace to become the warmest on record. at least four members of a palestinian family have been killed and 30 other people wounded after an unexploded israeli bomb detonated in a home in a refugee camp in rafah. the bomb, thought to be from the israeli assault on gaza last year, reportedly exploded as workers helped the family clear rubble from a house destroyed in the assault. at least 82 palestinians have been killed by unexploded ordinances since the assault ended. a federal appeals panel has ruled texas' strict voter id law discriminates against african americans and latinos and violates the voting rights act of 1965.
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wednesday's ruling came one day before today's 50th anniversary of the signing of the voting rights act. texas' voter id law is among the strictest in the country requiring all voters to bring a government-issued photo id to the polls. the appeals panel ruled the law has a discriminatory effect on voters of color. but in a partial defeat for voting rights advocates, the court also ordered a lower court to re-examine its previous ruling texas lawmakers acted with racial discrimination in mind when they passed the law. if the courts ultimately do decide lawmakers acted with discriminatory intent, it could led to the reinstatement of federal oversight over texas voting laws, a mechanism gutted nationwide by a supreme court ruling in 2013. in tennessee, a swat team shot and killed a man with a history of mental illness after he set off pepper spray inside a nashville-area movie theater. vincente montano was reportedly armed with a hatchet and pellet gun, but no one was seriously injured by his attack. he was shot dead by authorities while attempting to leave the
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theater through a back door. malaysia's prime minister has announced that debris found on the french island of reunion comes from malaysian airlines flight 370. the boeing 777 plane disappeared in march 2014 with 239 passagers aboard. prime minister najib razak spoke wednesday. >> today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a very heavy heart that i must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on reunion island is indeed from mh370. amy: in news from mexico, police are holding one suspect in connection with the murders of photojournalist ruben espinosa human rights activist nadia vera and three other women.
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, according to human rights advocates, epinosa's death last week signals a new level of violence against journalists in mexico, who had previously considered mexico city a safe zone. in the united states the , securities and exchange commission voted to adopt a rule that will require public companies to publish the pay ratio between their ceo's and their worker's median pay. the united states has the highest ratio between ceo and worker pay of any country. on average, ceos of the united states make 350 times more than their workers. the republican presidential candidates are preparing for the first debate of the 20 16 election season. 10 candidates will appear in a primetime debate while seven candidates who did not make the cut will participate in another debate in the afternoon. fox news said it calculated its top 10 list averaging five national polls, process which came under fire from polling agencies earlier this week. suspended its polling saying fox's criteria
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ignores the margin of error. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. [explosion] amy: 70 years ago today at 8:15 in the morning, the u.s. dropped the world's first atomic bomb on the japanese city of hiroshima. destruction from the bomb was massive. shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people. three days later, the u.s. dropped a second atomic bomb on nagasaki, killing another 74,000. president harry truman announced the attack on hiroshima in a nationally televised address on august 6, 1945. >> a short time ago, an american airplane dropped one bomb on hiroshima and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy.
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that bomb has more power than 20,000 tons of tnt. amy: well, today as the sun came up in hiroshima, tens of thousands began to gather in hiroshima's peace memorial park to commemorate the world's first nuclear attack. at 8:15 a.m., temple bells tolled as the solemn crowd observed a moment of silence. [bells toll] amy: among those gathered for the memorial were survivors known as a hibakusha, or an atomic bombed person. their average age is now 80-years-old. they listened as hiroshima mayor kazumi matsui called for nuclear weapons to be abolished.
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>> in order for us to live together, we need to end the use of all nuclear weapons, the ultimate in inhumane, pure evil. in the moment to get this done is now. amy: this year's memorial comes just days before the scheduled restart of the first nuclear reactor in southern japan to go back on line since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and set off a nuclear meltdown at the fukushima power plant. japan's prime minister shinzo abe has pushed to revive japan's nuclear energy program. despite major opposition. during his remarks at today's memorial ceremony abe said japan , still had an important mission to promote nuclear disarmament at the un's general assembly, and to put it on the agenda for g7 meetings to be held in japan, including hiroshima, next year. >> japan intends to renew its efforts to bring about a world without nuclear weapons with the cooperation of both the nuclear powers and the nonnuclear powers and that resolve translates to
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us proposing a new draft resolution at the united nations in the fall on nuclear disarmament. amy: the conservative japanese prime minister shinzo abe has pushed to change the constitution to send troops into conflict for the first time since world war ii. the new security legislation is under debate in parliament, and was raised by hiroshima bombing survivors who met with abe today. a representative of the hiroshima survivors network spoke. >> the erosion of the constitution will change japan into a nation that will go to war and bring upon us tragedy once more. we should not allow this nation to become one that repeats the mistakes of its past and does not let the souls of the atomic bomb victims rest in peace. amy: well, on this 70th anniversary of the u.s. bombing, we turn now to the acclaimed japanese novelist and 1994 winner of the nobel prize for literature, kenzaburo oe, who has spoken out in defense of japan's pacifist constitution.
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he is now 80 years old, and one of japan's most respected intellectuals and humanitarians. among his books, personal matter, "the silent cry hugo addressed nuclear weapons and nuclear power. wind democracy now! was in japan last year, i sat down with him in the tokyo offices of his publisher. i started by asking kenzaburo oe to explain a comment he made about hiroshima in which he said -- "hiroshima must be engraved in our memories: it's a catastrophe even more dramatic than natural disasters, because it's man-made. to repeat it, by showing the same disregard for human life in nuclear power stations, is the worst betrayal of the memory of the victims of hiroshima." >> when i was a child, the age
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of 12 them is when japan was involved of the war and this was the end of the war with japan experienced the bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. at a time was a great shock to myself but also my mother and my families come all the people at that time was the atomic tom. at the time it was a greater catastrophe than we -- than ever known. the people in hiroshima were forced to suffer the greatest sacrifice was the tens of thousands of people who were killed in an instant. however, the rimini survivors. following the bombings, for the five years later under occupation and at the time it was not possible for the hibakusha, which is what we call the survivors, to create any kind of organization of their own. five years following the bombings was when they were first able to create your own organization and at that time the loan slogan was to never allow this to be repeated, never to allow anymore hibakusha to be created. the thing i feel the most this time is the suffering from the disaster in fukushima is we must
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follow the wishes and the will of the hibakusha and not betray them. in the following 50 or more years since the end of the war we have not created any more hibakusha or survivors of nuclear weapons as such. despite this fact, it is now after we are experiencing this nuclear power plant disaster which was self-made, man-made disaster on such a great scale, this has led to so many new hibakusha of people surviving this nuclear disaster. we have done what we promised following the war to never allow to be repeated, to never allow it to happen again, so we can't the japanese people, i believe have been responsible for the greatest the trail to ourselves the trail to the japanese people by being responsible for this great disaster. amy: you let a protest last year against nuclear power in japan yet the government today, the most conservative since world war ii, is pushing for more nuclear power plants here in
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japan. >> the three years ago the day after the disaster, the weeks after the disaster, i believe the old japanese people were feeling a great regret. in that atmosphere in japan was all most the same as following the bombing of hiroshima at the end of the war. at that time, because of this atmosphere, the government at the time, the democratic party of japan, with the agreement of the japanese people, pledged to totally get rid of or decommission the more than 50 nuclear power plants are in japan. however, the situation following the disaster, particularly in fukushima, has not changed at all. the current atmosphere or attitude of the government now in japan has totally changed. in the current government which took over, the liberal democratic party which have long ruled japan, led by prime minister abe, is that only having a different policy, but completely having no regret and looking back on the nuclear
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power plant situation were also even on what happened to japan and instead, actively pushing this forward. i am very fearful now that all throughout japan and the japanese people, the atmosphere which is growing and increasing is the spreading of this prime minister abe's worldview. amy: yet, he was elected as prime minister. >> yes he has won in two elections until now. but because now he has the majority in both houses of the japanese parliament, it means he is in essence able to do anything, go forward anything. the first thing he is also trying to do now is revise the constitution which has created -- was democratically created by the japanese people following or two and the hiroshima and nagasaki experience. amy: explain what article nine is in the pushed ever removed from the constitution. >> first of all, the time of the war, japan was imperial
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dictatorship under the leader of the emperor. but the newfound constitution created after the war was deciding the emperor would no longer have any political authority. following this, the next important point in this new constitution was article nine of the constitution. it lays out the japanese people will never again wage war and will not accept war as a means to be used for the resolution of international conflicts. furthering that, the second important is japan will not maintain any war potential. however, the second pillar is becoming quite ambiguous as your may be aware that japan also has the japanese self-defense forces which fulfills the role of an army. under the current administration, japan is moving for actively participating in the united states wars. what i am most fearful about now is unfortunately, likely possibility under prime minister abe, the second pillar article nine will be in danger but not
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only the first pillar may actually within the next year or two or three or four years action directly or dissipate in war. amy: you write about the effect of the birth of your son on your family, on your work, in your books, for example in a personal matter. he was born in 1963 with a brick effect of a whole in his skull. talk about how that influenced your work in your life. >> when my eldest son was born he was born with a mental -- at the time of his birth when we were thinking or a was deciding what name to give him because of the dark feelings i was feeling as a young novelist at the time, i was considering giving him a name which would also resemble this darkness. i am originally from an island in japan covered with deep forest. my mother came from tokyo and she told me instead to call him "light her coat i have a living
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with light ever since then. ever since my book was published, there's a photo of my bike riding a bicycle. this child is now 50 years old. i believe in these 50 years living with my child, he has really taught me or made me realize that innocence is at the core of human nature, the core of humanity. so my son, this child, although he is not able to speak very much, every now and then sometimes he has very important words, important things he shares with us. i believe this shows the essential nature of human beings. although i myself and perhaps what a dark novelist, i believe i novels also show a trust in human beings and this has come from my son. amy: can you talk about when hikari first spoke? >> when my son was born 50 years ago, medicine at the time, although he was born with a large almost lump formation on
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his head, the medicine wasn't able to see whether -- the situation of his brain at the time, whether it was -- they were fearing perhaps it was somewhat out of place, shall we say. after consulting many, many times with the doctors, we turn -- took the courage to open that up. when they open it to check it, seemed the brain was not coming out as they had thought, but to covered up the put almost a plastic lid or cover on his head to repair the surgery and that is how he is been living for 50 years since. for the first 10 years of his life, he never responded at all to anything we set. however, one day we started to be able to the sounds of the call of the wild bird. this is coming from the television. this was the first time he actually showed response or attention to a particular sound. he turned his face to the direction where he could hear the sound coming from. because he was responding to the sound of the wild bird call coming from the television, it
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may me think the sound which would be the signal, which would be most close friend or respond to, would be this kind of pitch and quality of tone of the birds voice. i would and bought a recording of wild birds and played it in his room all day throughout the day. he eventually learned to remember these bird calls. this record which we bought and played all the time had all kinds of bird calls. the way the record was played, first you would hear the actual call of the bird in one second later it would be followed by a female announcer who would be saying the name. first, the bird call and following that, this voice saying dove, for example, in his went for three hours. this continued for six months. we had a summer home in the mountains where we would go to spend time. we went with our son. one night late at night we could hear the voice of the call of the bird. our son, until then had been totally silent, after hearing this voice, he would say the name of the bird.
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my wife and i opened the windows of our home to wait and hear for the next bird call. in the morning, we heard the same bird calling and then again, our son said the name of the bird. of course becoming morning, we started to be able your all kinds of birds. following this, my son would sit and hear all of the different cries of the birds and repeat the name of each one like crow or dove. that was the biggest surprise of my life until this day. because he had learnt to recognize the names or the voices of the birds, we started to think how he could learn the names of other things, for example, we would be writing together and i would hold the pen and say, "this is a pen" and he would review saying "pen." amy: the acclaimed japanese novelist and winner of the 1994 nobel prize for literature kenzaburo oe, one of japan's most respected intellectuals and humanitarians.
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he is describing his relationship with his son, whose music we will play for the break. ♪ [music break]
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amy: a composition of hikari oe son of kenzaburo oe, who has since become a composer of classical music. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on the 70th anniversary of the u.s. bombing of the japanese cities of hiroshima john dear and nagasaki, we continued my interview with the acclaimed japanese novelist, when of the 1994 nobel prize for literature, kenzaburo oe, who is spoken out in defense of japan's pacifist constitution and now 80 years old, one of japan's most respected intellectuals and humanitarians. i met with him in tokyo at his publisher's office and asked him about his book "okinawa notes"
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or he will about the mass suicide -- where he wrote about the mass suicide. >> following the war was 10 years old is when japan became a democratic country and oddly japan also became a pacifist country. the okinawa islands was separated from japan at this time post of the islands of okinawa became a base for the united states. this became perhaps one of the largest united states bases within asia and this is continuing until today. because of this, in one sense a reality or fact that the presence of the united states bases here in okinawa have meant that innocence japan is been protected from foreign agents in this time and also japan is part within u.s. nuclear umbrella. the japanese are living under the peace constitution and this is one aspect but at the same time we have a huge presence of the united states bases in okinawa including great military
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and many u.s. soldiers. it is a fact while we in japan are not maintaining military or potential ourselves, we do have this huge u.s. presence. following the war japan went into bombing the peace treaty with -- when into the peace treaty with the united states. the people of okinawa were were cut off from japan. it was placed under political control of the united states. this continued for many years. following this, open the letter was returned to japan. but the okinawan people were not citizens of japan. 70% of the united states bases decision in japan are in okinawa today. my book, "okinawa notes" i was interviewing many people to see what kinds of discrimination from the mainland japanese against okinawan people and not only that, but people from the same generation -- just until last year, for many years, i was going through lawsuit brought
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about because of the book. this lawsuit was on the issue of during the war in japan at the time when the japanese army was fighting in the u.s. allies in okinawa. in my book i write about during the time of the war the japanese military -- i use the word forcing, forced citizens of the island of okinawa to commit collective suicide -- women, children, elderly people, so as to not be in the way as the battle between the united states and allies in japan was coming forward. they were forced i said because we look at one particular island where 600 women, children, and elderly people under the instructions of the japanese army committed collective suicide. until then we saw forced mass suicide in okinawa had been written in some history books. at that time it was published in history textbooks. this is when the nationalist movement began to grow stronger. as one of the writers who had been written about these facts
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-- forced suicides, former japanese soldiers brought a lawsuit against me saying i was bringing dishonor to their name in my book. however, after many long years struggling with this lawsuit, we were successful. what pleases me at that success is this means the japanese children are able to learn about what happens in okinawa and this is able to be published in textbooks. amy: the lawsuit, though it was beaten, is also expressed in the prime ministers efforts to change textbooks, not only around the mass suicide, but around japan's role in the time leading up to and through world war ii. can you explain the role of japan and what you feel needs to be told and what you feel is trying to be a racist? >> in japan under the restoration, more than 150 years ago is when modernization process darted.
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within this process, japan became a large militaristic state and it was discrimination against okinawa. following the war with the creation of the new constitution, japan started a new departure as a democratic state. however, despite this, japan is looking to become this kind of superpower again under shinzo abe. within this, it is try to erase what japan was responsible for domestically and in the whole of asia with were of invasion. -- the war of invasion. what we need to be doing is remembering what happened telling this to our children conveying it to them and ensuring it is written in the history textbooks. rather than this, the strong effort now is trying to erase this and at the center of this i believe is prime and mr. abe -- premised are abe. i believe you're familiar with comfort women.
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korea had been annexed. the japanese imperial army took young women from korea and other places and force them to work sexually for japanese soldiers bringing them to the japanese mainland and to the battlefield. the japanese soldiers who returned he came back from the war although about the existence of the comfort system. however, the japanese people at the time did not speak or write of this. years later, japan and korea built a treaty amongst the two countries. at the time the issue of the comfort women was not raised as an issue within the treaty. i believe this was 1961. 26 years later i met one korean woman came out in the media to talk of her experience and assay should been forced to work as a so-called comfort woman. this new started to move throughout korea. three years later, after a time, there was a covenant and at this time it was an official
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statement made that japan had forced these women into the comfort women system. the japanese government, to this day, even now refuses to officially recognize the comfort women or former military sexual slavery. in korea, the move to call for formal recognition and an apology for these women continues very strongly to this day. this is an international issue. and 2007, the u.s. congress released a statement about this or resolution. the resolution called upon japan to recognize the fact of an event responsible for forcing these women into sexual slavery and calling on the japanese prime minister to officially recognize this fact. the third point, which reminds me of the democratic education which we experienced as young children under the united states, what really moved me about the resolution from the u.s. congress was that it also said japan should write about this issue in textbooks and teaching which children about this issue. i feel deeply from the heart i agree with this, however, the abe and missed ration refuses to
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it knowledge these comfort women existed. -- refuses to acknowledge these comfort women existed. now experiencing a conflict over territory with korea that whether this island belongs to japan or korea. i believe the issues should be dealt with by international legal mechanisms to look at the different signs and how to deal with this issue. japan refuses to take this to an international legal mechanism for a resolution and korea is not doing this also. the reason korea is refusing is because japan is refusing to recognize its past history, to recognize the comfort women. this is the response for japan's failure to deal with the issues. in the two years since the abe government is coming to place, there's been no official leader meeting between the japanese prime minister or the leader of korean. the same can be set for japan and china. because these issues are of historical recognition in japan refusing to deal with its past,
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we're having an international relations in this region which is almost unthinkable in different parts of the world because of this lack of dealing with the past. amy: we have talked about japanese imperialism. i would like to ask you about the united states dropping the atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki. >> first of all, i believe the fact nuclear weapons creating nuclear weapons is a crime of all humanity. but i'm also aware the fact it was said within the time of world war ii that not see germany was tried perhaps develop their weapons and so the u.s., france, united kingdom were try to develop before germany. nazi germany was not successful in developing a nuclear weapon. i do believe japan also bears responsibility for world war ii. this world which large powers were involved and caused great
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suffering for people all around the world including people of japan, especially people of asia. it is a reality within this immense nuclear -- or, nuclear weapons for use. we look at the perspective of the 21st century and the global situation now, i believe it was a great mistake that nuclear weapons were created and i believe is extremely necessary to abolish all nuclear weapons for the purpose of the whole of humanity and the future of all humanity. within this overall situation, i have long been active in calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. however, it is also a fact the united states to drop the bomb on hiroshima and nagasaki and i believe this is something humanity should not be proud of. however, while remembering this we need to at the same time remember what japan and nazi germany was also responsible for in the war. when we're recording history, record both of these realities together. i believe if you're looking at a concrete program to rid the world of nuclear weapons and we
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consider how to achieve this, for example, by the mid-21st century, consider the kind of future we might have were the first time humanity to be freed from nuclear weapons and sincerely deny the past and their war and aggression and create a new car real kind of nuclear weapons-free world. i believe we as japanese can make sure we do not participate in the nuclear regime we have now, and this is something which i have long been appealing for and working towards. amy: can you talk about the significance of the hiroshima peace ceremony that takes place every year in hiroshima on august 6 to the date the bomb was dropped in 1945? and the significance of u.s. officials going to that ceremony and what you would like to hear from u.s. officials? >> i believe the fundamental purpose of the memorial service, which is held, which of course has the hibakusha, the survivors at the center, is the message to never again create more hibakusha.
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it is the hibakusha them of the survivors, that are the center of the ceremony and have always been at the center of the ceremony, physically and spiritually. i'm active in anticipating with the survivors to go to these kinds of gatherings and consider how we can call for a world free of nuclear weapons and i believe the participation of representatives of politicians were diplomats from large countries who do possess nuclear weapons after some only in hiroshima has a very significant meaning. the ceremony, which is held in hiroshima, having u.s. embassy for example, u.s. and government officials and also other countries, has a huge meaning in terms of showing the current nuclear regime, which is still existing in the world and remembering how inhumane nuclear weapons are. this is a really important part for our movement. within my position as an individual citizen of japan i believe the presence or attendance of u.s. politicians at the ceremony holds very important meaning or it is very
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important. amy: would you like to hear president obama apologize for the droppings of the bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki? >> i am not seeking an apology, whether from the president or any person in regards to this issue. i believe the fact humanity did create the center weapons is a crime that all of humanity is responsible for. i believe this is an issue of a much greater scale than any politician could make an apology for. i think would have great meeting -- meeting for the president obama to come and hear the testimony of the survivors, but i don't believe what we should be seeing is an apology from some and on behalf of the united states am a people, for dropping the bomb. i believe if mr. obama were to come to the memorial ceremony in hiroshima and nagasaki, for example, he could come together with the hibakusha the survivors, ensure that moment of silence and express considering the issue of nuclear weapons from the perspective all
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committed he and how important nuclear abolition is from that perspective, i think would be the most important thing in the most important thing that any politician or representative could do at this time. i believe the issue or the experience of nuclear weapons is something too large for any individual to apologize for and bears a responsibility for all humanity to take on board. so rather than an apology, i believe what is important is to call for an expression of the will and dedication to create a world free of nuclear weapons. so if any influential u.s. politician or even french, were to come to hiroshima and nagasaki, that is what i would like to hear. amy: you write about your mother's friend surviving the bombing of hiroshima, but witnessing to children vaporized in the blink of a knife. i just felt outrage, she tell my mother weeping, you wrote. you go on to say, even though i did not fully grasp it at the time, i feel that hearing that horrifying story along with the
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word outrage, which put down deep abiding roots in my heart is what compelled me to become a writer. but i'm haunted by the fact ultimately composed for you right a great novel about the people who experienced the bombing and subsequent 50 plus years of the nuclear age that i lived through and i think now that writing that novel is the only thing i ever wanted to do. are you writing it? >> no no, i haven't. as a novelist, this is my greatest regret. although i've never once written a sentence in support of nuclear weapons or the regime around them, i've never been able to write this novel. in japan there are many novelist who have written great novels about hibakusha, for example, a female writer, spending many years thinking about the experience of hibakusha to create a powerful novel. however, i, myself, did not have this capacity. i feel for a long time it is my longest regret and perhaps one
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of the largest shames of my life. i believe when i die, maybe there will be many things i will feel shame for, i believe this will be one of the greatest amongst them. not being able to perhaps write one powerful novel about one individual hibakusha survivor. although i have several hibakusha who are friends, not having been able to do this, despite respecting such great nobles which are achieving this, and i believe this will be my greatest self disappointment and also shame when i pass. amy: you talk about regret, but what are you most proud of? what do you want to be remembered for? >> i don't think i really thought of anything as being god of -- proud of personally, but i do believe my life has meaning. my son come in or home on the first floor, we have the living room and his room is next door to that. when he was able to wake up himself and go to the bathroom himself when he needed to in the middle of the night, and he can
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return to his bed and lie down by itself, but he is not able to actually bring the covers up on himself. if he wakes up in the night and goes to the bathroom and comes back, he can lay down and go back to sleep, but he will be laying there without a blanket on him for the whole night. however, as long as we're living together, because i'm perhaps also working late into the night, when he goes to the bathroom at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and comes to his own room, so i go into his room and bring the covers over him and put him to bed. until he was about 10 years old he was levi his mother will step since then, it is been 40 years since he has been sleeping in his own room. whenever i'm in japan, even traveling within the country and sure to be home at night, so every night i contact my son into bed. i've been doing this for 40 years. that is one thing i personally am proud of within my life. amy: that was kenzaburo oe winner of the 1994 nobel peace prize for literature. i spoke to him generate 2014 ms.
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publisher's offices in tokyo, japan. special thank you to meri joyce for translating. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "rokkasho," by shing02. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as returned from the target of the atomic bomb to its birthplace, on the 70th anniversary of the bombings of hiroshima and nagasaki. today, hundreds of peace activists from across the nation are convening in los alamos, new mexico where the atomic bomb was built. los alamos is also the birthplace of the nation's main nuclear weapons laboratory and the site of ongoing nuclear development. this afternoon, the peace activists will march up trinity drive toward the laboratory's main entrance calling for nuclear disarmament. for more we go to santa fe, new mexico, where we are joined by reverend john dear is the author of over two dozen books on peace and nonviolence including, most recently, "the nonviolent life" and "thomas merton peacemaker."
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dear has been nominated for the -- he is led peace vigils for the last 12 years and helped organize this weekend's campaign nonviolence national conference to mark the 70th anniversary of the hiroshima and nagasaki bombings. and we're also joined by the conference's keynote speaker, reverend james lawson, civil rights icon and holman umc pastor emeritus. dr. martlled lawson "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world." we welcome you both to democracy reverend lawson, let's begin with you. can you tell us your memories of august 6, 1945? where were you? how old were you? >> i was 17 years old, a junior in high school, getting ready to start my final year in ohio. i will never forget because
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shortly after the bomb was dropped on the sixth of august, the national forensic league changed its debate topic for schools across the country from whatever it was already designated to a new topic. and that topic when something like this -- does the atomic bomb make mass armies obsolete? which meant, for as at washington high school, in enormous amount of work of study, of research, of reading. so that was our debate topic from september until june of that 1945-1946. amy: did you have any sense of the mass casualties? i remember the stories, hearing
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about the stories, especially at los alamos, of the footage that was classified, the video footage that the military took of the devastation of hiroshima and nagasaki playing it for the scientists at los alamos. they described weeping, throwing up, and then that footage was put away for many years. did you have a sense of the more than 200,000 japanese who were killed 70 years ago today and on august 9? >> from the very beginning there was on the one side, the government's attempt not to get full information available. so from the very beginning, there was a conflict over how many people were actually killed, how any people were injured. from the very beginning, the issue of radiation of the gis
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who moved into occupy hiroshima was controversial, and whether that radiation was dangerous. the pain and suffering of the entire city, and it having been literally vanquished from the earth, that issue was rarely talked about and was considered may be classified, but our own government did not want to reveal the awesome character of the devastation. amy: reverend john dear, your leading a series of actions beginning today in los alamos. can you talk about your response to what took place 70 years ago and what you think needs to happen today? >> thank you, amy,
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we're continuing to try to call for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. los alamos is the birthplace of the bomb and business is booming and so we are going there in the spirit of nonviolence to invite the 20,000 employees who built a nuclear bomb to quit third -- quit their jobs, and it call for the closing of los alamos. to use ago, the united states congress approved spending $1 trillion over the next three decades to upgrade our nuclear arsenal. this is insanity. very few people are talking about it. los alamos has more millionaires per capita than any city in the country, richest county in the country, sitting above santa clara pueblo, second poorest county in the country. you know, they continue -- they spend $2 billion to your
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building new bonds. president obama is trying to upgrade the whole nuclear facility there. state-of-the-art plutonium bomb factory. what do you do? in solidarity with our people and our brothers and sisters in japan, we're going to march in silence, sit in silence and have a rally in the park on the physical spot where they actually built the hiroshima bomb 70 years ago. we will do it again on sunday with hundreds of people from across the country and maybe most important local new mexicans. we are saying, the place has to close. it is a threat to the environment out here. it is a waste of money. it is not making a safe and so forth and so on trying to keep the movement alive and trying to build a movement. meanwhile, having the conference on nonviolence as well. amy: i want to turn to a survivor of the u.s. bombing of hiroshima. in 2007, nakamura appeared on democracy now! and described what happened that day.
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-- she. at the time of the bombing, she was 13 years old. >> we saw big lightening and i felt like a big breath is coming and the breath is contaminated with dust and blew through the inside of our factory. i was knocked down to the floor. all the little people -- pieces of the grasses is stuck in my body, all over my body. my entire body. a uniform got stained with blood. i had a blood knows and bleeding all over my body.
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amy: hiroshima survivor speaking with us remembering the bombing of hiroshima that she survived. the name given to the survivors is hibakusha, atomic bomb survivor. john dear, for many years hibakusha would come to los alamos. i remember one year covering them as they spread seeds over the site or the bombs were built -- where the bombs were built. >> yes, two years ago we hosted a delegation of 25 hibakusha and their children. imagine that never left hiroshima and they got off the plane and came into new mexico and we took them up to los alamos. and they wept and told us their stories. but they were also very moved to find out that ordinary americans
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are calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons with them. so there was hope, i thought, as we befriended each other and continued to build connections especially from los alamos and santa fe, new mexico with hiroshima and nagasaki. and this is our hope, to continue to global solidarity, a global movement to abolish these weapons once and for all and take that trillion dollars to end poverty, clean up the environment, and fund nonviolent conflict. amy: in 2013, president obama spoke in berlin, germany, and call for nuclear reductions. >> peace with justice means pursuing the safety of the world without nuclear weapons. no matter how distant country maybe. strengthen our efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce the number of nuclear weapons. because the new start treaty, we're on track to cut american and russian deployed nigger warheads to the lowest levels
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since the 1950's. amy: that was president obama speaking in berlin in 2013. well, shortly afterwards fox news contributor charles krauthammer criticized obama for discussing nuclear arms reduction. >> the idea we're going to be any safer if we have 1000 rather than 1500 warheads is absurd. so why is he doing this? number one, he is been obsessed with nuclear weapons and reducing them ever since he was a studenat columbiand thought the freeze, which was the stupidest strategic idea of the 1980's, wasn't enough of a reduction in second, because i think that is all he's got. amy: reverend james lawson, your response? >> his earpiece came off. amy: reverend john dear, your response? >> president obama has said great things about the need to abolish nuclear weapons, but the practices we continue to fund devoted them in upgrading -- developing them in upgrading them.
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this is the great problem we're facing with our government right now and the solution is, we need new, stronger grassroots movement in the united states connected with a global movement to say, we need to start working for the abolition of nuclear weapons now. we can't wait and we can't have just one or two. amy: in this last minute we have, reverend james lawson, it is also the 50th anniversary of the signing of the voting rights act, august 6, 1965. the significance of what the voting rights act means to all of these different issues? >> well, the democratic experiment from july 4 1776 in the ited states accessible to all the citizens, to all the people, is a part of the major task that has to be continued within the united states. the voting rights act of 1965, therefore, is one of the most important tools for that.
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it broke open, especially in the south, but also placesike new mexico and california, he broke open the possibilities of people with aifferent languagand ack people eecially, being allowed to vote, being able to voteithout all the hatred and rage against their voting and the rights. amy: reverend lawson, we're going to continue the discussion on the voting rights act aft the show and post it at i want to thank rerend james lawson and reverend john dear. that doesn't for our show. -- that does it for our show democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your co
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