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Kiwis Walking For Peace In Japan

15 May 2004

Kiwis Walking For Peace In Japan

Two New Zealanders will soon be walking the length of Japan as part of The International Peace Pilgrimage a group aiming to raise awareness about the disastrous effects of the nuclear industry. Anna Hunter, from Christchurch, and Chancey MacDonald, from Masterton, plan to walk over 1000 kilometres, in three months, beginning in Sendai on Sunday 16th May.

“As the National party recommends scraping our Nuclear Free Status at home, it seems like the right time to make a gesture towards peace on the world stage” says Anna Hunter “We are walking to remember the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Indigenous peoples of the world who have had bombs tested in their lands, and those who suffer at every step in the cycle. The radiation victims and scarred land at uranium mine sites and nuclear power plants, as well as on transport routes and at waste dumps. We are walking for our grandchildren, and our grandchildren’s grandchildren, who do not deserve to live with a deadly radioactive legacy”

“We are joining an international group – people from all over the world are speaking out for a Nuclear Free Future. We bring a unique story – the hope of country that been nuclear free for seventeen years. But its a cautious tale too, as suggestions like those coming out of the National party remind us that pressures, specially from the US, still challenge our right to live without this radioactive poison”

The Pilgrimage began in Olympic Dam, Roxby Downs in South Australia, the world’s largest Uranium mine. They travelled over 2000 kilometres, through South Australia, Victoria, NSW and ACT, completing the Australian leg at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra. The Japanese leg takes the pilgrims from Hokkaido in the north, down the eastern coast of the main island of Japan. It finishes in Hiroshima on August 6, before travelling to Nagasaki on August 10, for the anniversaries of the Atomic bombs.

“We walked with the Pilgrimage from Melbourne to Canberra, and it was an incredible experience. The nuclear industry in Australia has affected so many people here. I have learnt so much from this group of knowledgeable and passionate people and it has inspired me to continue on to Japan”

Anna says she also gains inspiration from the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a group of senior Aboriginal Women from Coober Pedy, South Australia. “These Women are survivors of nuclear tests on their lands in the 50s and 60s, and now, though some are over 80 years old, they continue to fight to stop a nuclear dump on their land. I have so much respect for these women and their tireless work, I hope to follow their example and talk strong for a nuclear free future”

ENDS

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