On April 5th and 6th, the 30th anniversary of the death of Atsuhito Nakata was commemorated at the Uryuyama Campus of Kyoto University of Arts.
The event was hosted by the Kyoto Peacebuilding Center of Kyoto University of Arts and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the United Nations Volunteer Program, and the Japan Parliamentary Committee of the Diet of Japan for World Federalism. Various participants attended the event, including former and current UN officials who had participated in missions with Mr. Nakata at the time, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, and experts in peacebuilding.
Thirty years ago, at 25, Atsuhito Nakata lost his life while working as a UNV election observer in preparation for the Cambodian general election. His legacy has since been passed on to many others and continues to be a driving force for peace.
In the morning session of Day 1, Hideo ISHIZUKA, Deputy Assistant Minister and Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, read a message on behalf of Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It was followed by an address by Kyoko Yokosuka, Deputy Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers programme. The event featured a picture book presentation by a former staff member who was close to Mr. Nakata, a presentation on the reaction and confusion in Cambodia at the time as told by Nakata's former colleagues, as well as a keynote speech by Yasushi Akashi, who led the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. The afternoon session was divided into four working group sessions: "Culture of Peace", "Role of Volunteers in UN Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Activities", "Nexus between Democracy and Peace", and "Japanese UN Volunteers: Past, Present, and Future”.
The second day began with reports on the discussions from each of the working groups, then complimentary remarks, including a video message by the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, was shown. The remarks were concluded by addresses by Sakiko Yoshikawa, President of Kyoto University of Arts; Takehiro Kano, Director General, International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office; Kansei Nakano, former Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives and former Minister of State, Chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission of Japan; Tetsuro Fukuyama, Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Board of Directors of the Kyoto University of the Arts; Mr. SAO Khoradin, Minister Counselor at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia to Japan; and Mr. KICMARI Sabri, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Japan, delivered remarks. The conference was closed with a keynote speech by UNU Rector Marwala. In the afternoon, the event ended with a traditional Kyoto dance performance.
Mr. Atsuhito Nakata, who lost his precious life in Cambodia, left a legacy for peace. The fact that many discussions were held at this event and that we came closer to peace proved that Mr. Nakata's will is still alive today.