Satomi Oba's work with WLOE

Satomi Oba, Japan

We miss, honor and support the work of Satomi Oba

The sudden and unexpected loss of Satomi Oba in February 2005 was a terrible shock. A link for so many between their countries and Japan and Asia, Satomi was a dedicated international worker for a peaceful future, mother of four, teacher, and dear friend. Struck down at age 54 by a cerebral hemorrhage, her work lives on in the many lives she has touched. The list of organizations she was part of, and their tributes to her, reflect her untiring life's work.

Satomi was a member of our Women and Life on Earth Advisory Board since its formation in 1999, with this description:
"A long-time anti-nuclear activist with particular concerns for human rights and justice, Satomi Oba is Director of Plutonium Action Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan. She is a regional activist involved with “Abolition 2000” and other regional and international coalitions and efforts – and also an English teacher."

The other networks she was active in include:

WISE - World Information Service on Energy

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (read their tribute here)

Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
from their site

Reaching Critical Will:

9) In memoriam: Satomi Oba
Early in the morning on February 24, Satomi Oba, a renowned anti-nuclear campaigner and peace activist died at age 54 from a sudden aneurysm in her brain.

All of us in the disarmament community are devastated at this tremendous loss. Satomi was a tireless and fearless activist- a representative of Plutonium Action Hiroshima, a member of No Nukes Asia Forum, a founding member of Abolition 2000 and the Hiroshima correspondent of WISE International- she never shied away from speaking the truth or fighting for what she believed was right and just. She was also a wonderful friend to many of us around the world; words cannot express our shock and sadness.

Below is a brief note she and her friends contributed to a past edition of the News in Review, during the 2003 Preparatory Committee meeting in Geneva. To think that we will never have another heart-felt contribution from Satomi again is unfathomable. On behalf of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, I would like to express our utmost condolences to her family and friends, and to let them know how greatly she will be missed by all.

A Message from the Axis of Hope

After a long, hectic and exhausting week of activities at the NPT PrepCom, three NGO delegates took a day off on Sunday for a brief tour of the French Alps. We spent a glorious day enjoying the old Europe. We explored the market in the French village of Annecy, hiked up the hill to the old castle, and discovered the Mysteres et deouvertes, a most surprising art exhibition, bringing together medieval and futuristic art installations reflecting in one way or another the alpine landscape. The three of us found it spellbinding.

Emerging into the blazing sunlight, we pondered the spectacular view of the snow-capped mountains towering above Lake Annecy and watched the leisurely picture below of sailing boats and strolling families. One of us observed, imagine that the whole world could be this peaceful and content. As we sat together on an ancient stone wall and posed for a photograph, we looked at each other and realized who we were. One of us was from Germany, where nuclear fission was discovered and ballistic missiles originated. One of us was from the United States, the first country to develop and use nuclear weapons. And one of us was from Japan,the first country to suffer the devastating effects of the atom bomb. All of us were born in the years following these events. And all of us were women. We felt that we were the axis of hope. We sat down together to write postcards to our friends at home. And this is the message we sent:
We have a dream...A nuclear weapons convention ratified, space weapons banned, missiles gone,and we have loads of time to enjoy beautiful Switzerland (and France)!

Love and peace from The Axis of Hope: 
-Satomi Oba, Japan (born 1950)-Jackie Cabasso, USA(born 1952)- Regina Hagen, Germany (born 1957).

The Atomic Mirror, A tribute to Satomi:

..." Japan has the custom of honoring people as National Treasures. Satomi was an International Treasure. We remember and honor her strong spirit and ceaseless work to get rid of nuclear weapons, nuclear power and weapons in space. We remember her love for the world, and her appreciation of its beauty..."


Global Network: We remember our dear friend Satomi Oba (Photos by Aurel Duta)

On Sun, 27 Feb 2005
Shuji Imamoto wrote:

Dear Green friends,

I am deeply sorry to let you all know Ms Satomi Oba, president of Plutonium Action Hiroshima, as well as chair member of Abolition 2000, who acted a chairperson of peace-building session in AP Greens Kyoto meeting, passed away on Thursday, February 24th, around 4 pm.

She was a famous for a strong anti-nuclear activist living in Hiroshima and very active in spreading latest situations regarding global nuclear issues, as a coordinator of WISE Japan. She has often joined a lot of international conferences on anti-nuclear movement, such as NPT Conference. She has made various actions with many friends and activists all over the world, for many years. She has translated "Bush's Star Wars" video and many many books and articles. The video she edited won the Universal Peace Prize by Global Network. Her funeral took place in Hiroshima last night, the cremation will be the following morning. She will be throughly missed by many people in the planet.

Satomi's work was among the first published by WLOE in our "Voices of Women" series.

Japan Summer 2004 (pdf format, 7 pages)
In this report Satomi presented a personal overview of current issues in her native Japan. She discussed nuclear weapons and power, the international campaign to halt the militarization of space, and citizen action for peace.
(Please not that our WLOE office is no longer in Berlin.)

The Lie of the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy
"Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power Plants - Two Sides of the Same Coin"
European Trip Report, October 2004 (pdf format, 10 pages)

See also: Nukes and the Japanese society (WISE Women Special, 1999)
"The nuclear system, both military or civil, is one of the most violent ones that patriarchal society has invented and developed. Nuclear power grows particular well in an undemocratic atmosphere..."

Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)

Satomi Oba and Hiroshima

Satomi: "I came to Hiroshima when I was a university student in 1969, and here I first learned about the hazards of atomic bombs. I saw lots of photos and heard a lot of stories from survivors. I felt it was very terrible and that we had to stop nuclear weapons. But I also began to question the fact that the people of Hiroshima are active against nuclear weapons but not so active against nuclear power plants.

I started Plutonium Action Hiroshima in 1991 when the shipment of plutonium (from French reprocessing facilities back to Japan) was just starting. So I have been working on the plutonium issue for about 5 years. But before this we had held some actions against nuclear power plants, after the Chernobyl accident in 1986. That accident was very shocking to all of us in Japan, like other parts of the world. But I was aware of the dangers of nuclear power in civilian and military use before the Chernobyl accident. I started my small activity in 1983-84..."

-- "A View From Hiroshima: Japan is Chernobyl" Anna Gyorgy interviews Satomi Oba, Hiroshima 1996