Responses from Speaker Pelosi to Questions from Children in Hiroshima

August 31, 2008

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, attended the G8 Speakers' Conference held in Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan, August 31 to September 2. Prior to the Conference, children of Hiroshima forwarded questions to all of the G8 Speakers through Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono. Here are Speaker Pelosi’s responses.

  1. Will this be your first visit to Hiroshima? If not, how many times have you been to Hiroshima previously?

    This will be my first visit to Hiroshima.

  2. What would you like to experience during your visit to Hiroshima?

    I look forward to meeting with my colleagues from around the world to discuss the critical issues facing our nations and how we can work together to tackle them.

    Hiroshima will always have a significant place in history. I hope to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum to learn more about how a city that was the site of such immense devastation has been rebuilt and thrived.

  3. What are your expectations for the G-8 Summit in Hiroshima, particularly in regard to its connection to the atomic bombing and nuclear weapons?

    I have high expectations for the 2008 G-8 meeting. The meeting provides a unique opportunity for our nations' leaders to speak openly in a forum about major issues afflicting the global community. The backdrop of Hiroshima will provide a stark and constant reminder of the destruction and loss of life that nuclear weapons have caused. I expect that nuclear non-proliferation and the acquisition of loose nuclear material will be key topics at the G-8 meeting. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses a serious threat to the security of all our nations, and it will take a clear, comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

    I expect that global warming and climate change will be a major focus of our meeting as well. I have made the issue of climate change and energy independence my flagship issue as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. We have taken steps to combat global warming at home but must more fully engage with the world community to solve an issue that poses a threat to our environment, health, and security.

  4. We are interested in the possibility of holding a "Children's Summit" in Hiroshima where children from around the world can exchange thoughts about peace. What do you think of this idea?

    Last year, I hosted a National Summit on America's Children on Capitol Hill and it was one of the best days in my 21 years in Congress. There, we discussed our most vital resource - our children - and the investments we must make to ensure our children are given the tools they need to succeed.

    As a mother of five and grandmother of seven, I am always excited to see young people wanting to make a difference. Getting young people involved in global issues empowers them, makes them understand their role as the next generation of leaders, and helps to develop a sense of ownership in the state of international affairs.

    In my travels as Speaker, I have met with presidents, prime ministers, and kings. But what impressed and inspired me the most were my encounters with young people. At a time when world leaders question the value of constructive dialogue with our adversaries, young people are engaged in their own international dialogue, through email and instant messaging and blogs. They are talking about their hopes for a brighter future and of their desire for peace and prosperity. Young people at home and abroad are unwilling to accept the world as it is now. It is their impatience of youth that will bring about real change. That is why I have such faith in the future.

  5. What would you like the children of Japan to take away from the G-8 discussions about peace and nuclear disarmament?

    It is my hope that the children of Japan realize how crucial this issue is to their future. Matters of peace and security are the first responsibility of any elected official. That is why we are coming together at this meeting to discuss nuclear disarmament and the critical need to secure loose nuclear material in order to greater secure our world.

  6. What suggestions might you have for children in Hiroshima and Japan in regard to "doing something for peace"?

    Continue the dialogue. As I mentioned earlier, young people around the globe are engaged in their own conversations about how to improve our world and bring change. They must continue to listen to each other and learn from one another.