Media Contact: Maddie Hamb at [email protected], (831) 600-6757
WASHINGTON, DC—People around the world are marking the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings by taking part in #CranesforOurFuture and calling for a future free from nuclear weapons.
To participate in the campaign around the August anniversaries of the 1945 bombings of Japan, people fold and share paper cranes on social media with a message about why moving closer to a world without nuclear weapons is important to them. Now in its third year, #CranesForOurFuture is the largest public digital demonstration for a world without nuclear weapons, reaching and inspiring millions.
#CranesForOurFuture was established by the Hiroshima Prefecture, Nagasaki Prefecture, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace. The effort is joined by a broad coalition of institutions and public figures committed to a safer future for all, with support and participation growing each year.
Prominent participants this year include:
- Artists and entertainment industry leaders like Julianne Moore, Yoko Ono, George Takei, Ted Turner, the Indigo Girls, Michael Douglas, Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, Pedro Reyes, and David Slack.
- U.S. officials like Sen. Chris Van Hollen, former Sen. Sam Nunn, Rep. Jim McGovern , Rep. Mike Levin, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins.
- Global security leaders, including Nagasaki Governor Kengo Oishi, Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi, former Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, President of the United Nations General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi, former NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, and UN Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu.
- More than 75 organizations and institutions including the UN Foundation, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
In 2022, #CranesForOurFuture reached more than 20 million people. This year, the campaign came at a time when the threat of nuclear catastrophe is higher than at any time since the Cold War. Hard-fought arms control treaties are being discarded. Digitized nuclear weapons systems are newly vulnerable to cyber attacks. And Russia’s reckless nuclear threats against Ukraine have made headlines and raised serious concerns about the possibility of nuclear use.
The campaign launched amidst heightened cultural awareness of the growing dangers posed by nuclear weapons. It comes just two weeks after the release of this summer’s Hollywood blockbuster, Oppenheimer, which tells the origin story of humanity’s capacity to destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons. In a recent OpEd published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor of the Hiroshima Prefecture, urged movie-goers to “consider how nuclear weapons have held our planet and its people hostage for more than three-quarters of a century and how the risks they pose today may be greater than ever before.”
#CranesForOurFuture also introduced people to the threats posed by nuclear weapons by partnering with illustrator and Manga comic creator Gigi Murakami on a comic book wall mural that uses the power of art and haiku poetry to draw attention to the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons. Gigi’s mural has been wheatpasted in dozens of locations in New York and Washington, DC. The campaign also partnered with Eugenia Zoloto, a Kyiv-based Ukrainian artist, to make an original paper collage symbolizing a brighter future possible through nuclear disarmament.
“As we mark the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, humanity is at a crossroads,” said former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz who is co-chair and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). “Down one path, war in Ukraine teeters on the nuclear brink, and we sit on the precipice of a new nuclear arms race that would divert resources from basic needs. Down the other path is a safer, freer future where people and the planet are thriving, and nuclear weapons have no purpose. This campaign is about showing the world that a better future is still possible and we can all play a role in achieving it.”
In May, President Biden and other G7 leaders met in Hiroshima and reaffirmed a commitment to a world without nuclear weapons. #CranesforOurFuture participants sent a message that global leaders cannot ignore by showing them that people want to see words matched with action.
The paper crane is a universal symbol of peace which first gained global attention thanks to a young girl named Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was just two years old when she survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, only to succumb to the long-term effects of radiation poisoning a decade later. Guided by a tradition dating back centuries in Japan, Sadako attempted to fold 1,000 paper cranes in the hope that her wish to live would be granted. After her death, children around the world heard her story and continued to make paper cranes.
More information about #CranesforOurFuture, including campaign highlights can be found at CranesforOurFuture.org.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative is a nonprofit, nonpartisan global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threats imperiling humanity.