In November 2019, on the occasion of a trip to the island of Ishigaki in Okinawa prefecture, Jean-Jacques and Marie-France SIRY, members of the board of the association « Sentinelles de la Paix » were able to meet Mr. Yasuyuki Hazama, director of the Division of Civic Cooperation for Peace, accompanied by two staff members.
In November 2019, on the occasion of a trip to the island of Ishigaki in Okinawa prefecture, Jean-Jacques and Marie-France SIRY, members of the board of the association « Sentinelles de la Paix » were able to meet Mr. Yasuyuki Hazama, director of the Division of Civic Cooperation for Peace, accompanied by two staff members. Ishigaki City is a member of Mayors For Peace and is home to one of the five World Peace Bells in Japan.
We were welcomed in the conference room of Ishigaki City Hall and Mr. Hazama introduced us to Ishigaki City, City of Peace and to this very important point of the city of Ishigaki and which was one of the motivations of our visit, the World Peace Bell. A Peace Bell, melted down in the hope of permanent peace in the whole world, was given to Ishigaki City in 1988. It is placed in the centre of the city in Shinei Park. A second bell, the Smile Bell, made thanks to the generosity of the people of Ishigaki, was installed the same year. To accompany his presentation, Mr. Hazama gave us a set of documents presenting the commitment of the city of Ishigaki to peace.
Then we presented our association and our involvement through various actions in connection with the municipalities that are members of Mayors for peace, for a world free of nuclear weapons. We spoke in particular about our two recent actions in Moissac and Lasséran. We presented and handed a text to Mr. Hazama on our approach and the different symbols present in this approach, in particular those insisting on the necessary transmission of the message of the Hibakusha.
Afterwards, Mr. Hazama invited us to go to Shinei Park where he presented us with the World Peace Bell and the Smile Bell. We were also able to discover the two monumental stones on which are engraved the two Ishigaki Peace City Declaration.
Then, to our great surprise, the suspended wooden beam (Shu-moku – 手木) was installed to ring the Peace Bell and Mr Hazama invited us both to ring it. It was an extremely moving moment and we are both very honoured to have been able to make this gesture.
Then, after a last photo, Mr Hazama took us back to the town hall and we agreed to keep in touch. We took the liberty of proposing, on behalf of our association, to envisage the realisation of a Peace Sentinels action on the Shinei Park at a date to be defined. Finally, we invite you to discover the very beautiful text of Mr. Yoshitaka Nakayama, Mayor of the city of Ishigaki, written on December 10, 2018 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the installation of the Ishigaki World Peace Bell.