The boat will arrive in Japan in time for the 75th anniversary commemorations of the U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 2020.
The historic Golden Rule peace boat, restored by Veterans For Peace has been sailing up and down the West Coast for nearly four years, and has been based in San Diego since September.
“We are sailing for a nuclear-free world and a peaceful, sustainable future,” said Gerry Condon, president of Veterans For Peace. “Now it is time for us to visit the island nations of the Pacific, which have suffered so much damage from nuclear testing and military bases.
The Golden Rule has a storied history. In 1958, four Quaker peace activists led by a former Navy captain, Albert Bigelow, sailed the 34-foot wooden ketch from Los Angeles to Honolulu, with the intent to continue on to the Marshall Islands to bring attention to U.S. nuclear bomb testing there. The U.S. government had other ideas, however. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission enacted he “Golden Rule” regulation, barring U.S. citizens from entering into the nuclear test zone in the Marshall Islands.
The U.S. Coast Guard prevented the Golden Rule from leaving Honolulu, arrested the crew and threw them in jail. However, another American family succeeded in sailing their boat, Phoenix of Hiroshima, into the nuclear test zone. The father, Dr. Earl Reynolds, was arrested, on trial for two years in Honolulu. His conviction was thrown out after the courts found the NRC “rule” he had violated was unconstitutional.
The two boats and their crews succeeded in bringing worldwide attention to the problem of radiation that was floating all around the globe, due to atmospheric nuclear bomb testing by the U.S., the USSR, the UK and France.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty with the USSR and the UK, banning nuclear testing in the air, water or space, but allowing it to continue underground. Today, most nuclear bomb testing is done via computer simulation.
For more information, visit www.vfpgoldenrule.org.