Nagasaki Mayor Tomohisa Taue
Topics Covered: Nagasaki City’s stance on nuclear weapons; International Nagasaki; Nagasaki industries and manufacturing; City-building initiatives; 21st Century Japanese cities; Champon.
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Ever since the atomic bomb was dropped on August 9th in 1945,
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The city of Nagasaki knows exactly what atomic bombs do and how much they make people suffer.
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Therefore, the citizens of this city feel strongly that such a fate should never befall anybody else on earth, including future generations.
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The world doesn’t need nuclear weapons. We have continued to say this for years. In this, I am the leader of the people of Nagasaki.
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One of my tasks is to convey the message of how dangerous and how unnecessary nuclear weapons are.
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Secondly, even despite these facts, there are still people who believe in the necessity of nuclear weapons and who seek to possess nuclear weapons.
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To those proponents, I have a responsibility to let them know that they are absolutely wrong.
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Thirdly, another task is to propose ideas of what needs to be done in order to create a world without nuclear weapons.
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I seek to fulfill my roles and I wish for the realization of a nuclear-free world in the near future.
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The city of Nagasaki is known as a city where atomic bomb was dropped.
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Aside from that, Nagasaki also has a history of interaction with East and West. It is a unique city with a mix of cultures from various countries, which has always created its own unique culture.
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With that, it is one of the more popular tourist spots in Japan.
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So, first, I wish for many citizens of Nagasaki with their unique character to encourage people to visit Nagasaki.
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Also, Nagasaki is an industrial city. Our large shipbuilding industry lead to a powerful machine manufacturing industry, building power plants, power generation, wind and solar power.
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Since Nagasaki is active in such manufacturing businesses, I would also like to enhance such industries.
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Another active industry are our fisheries.
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I am sure you two have eaten their catches before.
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There are many kinds of fish in Nagasaki, all very fresh.
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I want people to eat and enjoy our fish.
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I want the fisheries business to flourish.
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So, by enhancing the sightseeing and shipbuilding industries, as well as manufacturing and fisheries, I want Nagasaki to develop and improve more and more.
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Well, the most difficult thing in my opinion is that most people don’t really comprehend how dangerous nuclear weapons are to human beings.
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That’s why it is very important to have many people involved in such educational and awareness initiatives.
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I believe that not knowing exactly what nuclear weapons do to humans comes as result of several key misunderstandings.
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Furthermore, people constantly say that nuclear weapons are necessary, or they think that a nuclear weapon is just a large bomb. These kinds of misunderstandings.
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Preconceptions like that prevent people from realizing the true reality of nuclear weapons and what exactly nuclear weapons can do.
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That’s the biggest challenge, I think.
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Once people’s preconceptions are removed and they can see for themselves what nuclear weapons truly are, on an individual level – then, I believe more people would question the need for such cruel and inhumane weapons and would certainly realize that they don’t want them in the world.
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The most difficult challenge is to inform people about the facts and truth of what nuclear weapons really are.
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Human beings, individual people, countries —
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People come from all different cultures, live in different environments, have different historical backgrounds, and practice different customs.
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When everybody is able to accept each other’s differences and be aware they are important, and never believe difference is an unpleasant thing —
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When people will think that being different is a wonderful thing, then I think the world will have come closer to “peace.”
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I believe many people would understand and agree with these ideas. Increasing the number of people who can share in this thought could lead the world to be more changeable, I think.
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In that sense, I believe I must not give up speaking out about it, I must not give up pursing peace, and
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with a strong will, we must leave a peaceful world to the next generation.
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There is a Japanese saying by a Calligrapher, no, a Philosopher, or maybe by a Thinker —
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“If you take from one another, there will never be enough, but if you share, there will be more than enough.”
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It means even with the same amount of food, if you take more than others, there will not be enough for everybody.
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However, if you are willing to share or let others take more than you do, then there will probably be leftovers.
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What the person wanted to say is that even with the same amount, the result can be different.
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This is a very important way of thinking about bringing about peace in life.
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Let me see. There are two purposes with SARUKU. First, there is a lot of interesting history and culture in our town that cannot be seen.
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Even though there are some interesting historical stories,
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Most tourists are unlikely to find out about them.
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So, if the people of the city become the tour guides, then they can show tourists many amazing things about the city.
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In this way, what you can not see can be seen and what would have been ignored can be noticed.
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That is the SARUKU system for tourists.
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There’s also another purpose. If residents of the town walk around their town, they may notice many things that they didn’t know.
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So, with a SARUKU walk, people get to relearn about their town and realize just how nice of a town it is.
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They might think, “we should take better care of the town and make it better.” Such positive energy can be brought to them by them getting to know their own town.
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SARUKU has a meaning of both improving sightseeing initiatives as well as creating energy for us residents to want to improve our town.
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I think it is rapidly expanding in other places. More residents walk around their cities and more cities encourage citizens to do so.
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Of course, we weren’t the first to do it. I am sure there were places like that before us.
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I think it is a wonderful thing for residents to feel that they are the ones to improve their town and for each town to spread such ideas.
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I hope this approach will spread more and more.
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In the policy that I am promoting, there is a phrase I use, “Three possible directions.”
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The first is to create a unique town. The second is to create it together with everyone. The third is to create a town in which it is pleasant to live.
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Creating a characteristic town means,
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Oh, before that, what I meant by “three” is, when we think what kind of town is considered a wonderful town,
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I think one thing that makes a town attractive is when it is a unique town that respects its history and culture.
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Instead of having the same ordinary town everywhere, you have Nagasaki with its unique character, Kyoto with its unique character, Osaka with its unique character —
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This makes each town shine, and when you look at all of them together, the whole of Japan will shine.
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So, with that said, one of the directions for Nagasaki is to become more unique and Nagasaki-like by emphasizing its Nagasaki-ness.
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Second, “to create a town with everyone together” means that there are many residents in the city of Nagasaki, as well as many corporations and businesses.
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There are also colleges and NPOs (Nonprofit Organizations). Also, there are government administration offices, such as the city hall.
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So, everybody can brainstorm and share ideas or bring anything they are good at, to create a town that can solve various problems.
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That way, we know our own individual niches well, and then, when needed, we come together to cooperate.
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When a problem occurs, there will be various patterns to solve it.
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For example, this type of problem should be addressed to so and so to solve.
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If we have these various solution strategies and ideas, I think it will make the town very strong.
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I intend to strive for a Nagasaki like that.
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Therefore, right now, we are experimenting how to cooperate in various ways to accumulate various know-how.
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Then, the third direction is “to create a town in which it is pleasant to live.”
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Right now, Japanese society is facing a time of big change, so development of new systems will soon be necessary.
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The medical care system, the social security system – the school system and social work policy, as well.
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Over the past 100 years, the Japanese population tripled in size. Now, it is expected to shrink to 1/3 of its current size within the next 100 years.
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Now, we are facing a peak era. As we face various changes, it has become necessary to develop new systems in the process of those changes.
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And Nagasaki, in that sense, needs new systems that fit this coming era.
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A town that has the capability of deciding certain rules and creating systems on its own will become strong, I think.
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In that sense, this is a field in which we lack experience, so we are currently discussing for example, all of us making rules together.
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And it is by having such experiences, that we can accumulate the know-how that I am telling you about now.
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A Champon Meeting is, first of all, Champon is the most famous dish in Nagasaki.
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It is Chinese cuisine, a dish from China, however, it was born in Nagasaki.
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The noodle in the cuisine is very tasty.
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We eat it, and the Champon Meeting is to encourage people to talk about various matters while we eat champon together.
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We hold it once a month and people come to the city hall.
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We determine one theme to talk about and based on the theme, everybody is encouraged to talk,
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But first, participants eat champon together, then we talk.
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This is a very important occasion. Based on the theme, various people bring various ideas.
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“We are doing such and such a thing” or “We solved this particular problem in this way.”
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Or someone might propose, “How about doing this?”
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The gathering of such opinions and ideas is very important. People also get to know various people from various activities for new networking opportunities.
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As I said before, Champon Meetings are one of the methods of expanding networking and create a town for everyone.