Letter from Mordechai Sparked Japanese Effort

Editorís note: The author is the coordinator of the Hiroshima Group of Amnesty International, Japanese section.

by Shinji Noma

I first came across the name of Mordechai Vanunu two years ago in an Amnesty International newsletter. I read an article about a Japanese woman who had corresponded with him.

I was so interested in his case that I sent him a postcard of the Hiroshima A-bomb dome as an encouragement. Unexpectedly, I received his reply last summer.

He wrote that his reason for revealing Israelís nuclear weapons secrets was to prevent Israel from using its nuclear weapons, as was done at Hiroshima, and to help make the use of nuclear weapons illegal.

The content of his letter seems so stimulative, provocative, and controversial that I cannot reveal the whole letter. I was afraid that he might have suffered some mental damage in the course of his long confinement. In my reply I wrote that I hate all atrocities, including the Holocaust.

Amnesty International does not have any position on nuclear weapons, so we are focusing on the degrading treatment Vanunu has received so far, and continuing the campaign for his release.

Before launching the campaign, it occurred to me that the Hiroshima group should cooperate with Amnesty International Nagasaki in order to make it more effective. Amnesty International Nagasaki members have promised to participate on an individual basis.

As you know, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the first places in the world to be hit by atomic bombs. A-bomb survivors have been appealing against the cruelty of nuclear weapons and advocating their abolition. They are decreasing in number, and I wonder if nuclear weapons will be abolished while they are still alive.

Solidarity with citizensí organizations in foreign countries has recently been called for in Hiroshima as part of the peace movement, but it seems to me that the situation has not changed so much. I believe that a movement should not be self-righteous but sympathetic. Citizens in Hiroshima should know the facts about nuclear weapons all over the world, including the case of Mordechai Vanunu.

As we soon ran short of Japanese material about Vanunu, the pamphlets of the U.S. campaign are being translated as a means of publicizing his case in this country. His name seems to have been neglected in Japan.

This summer, as a prelude to the August 6th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, we launched a letter-writing campaign urging Israeli officials to release this prisoner-of-conscience. Vanunu supporters may e-mail me at nshinji@mx1.freemail.ne.jp.