A-bomb survivors’ groups gather signatures to urge nations to ratify nuclear weapons ban treaty

Members of the Hiroshima prefectural chapter of the “Hibakusha Appeal” gathered signatures on the Motoyasu Bridge, located in Naka Ward, on November 20. They called on people to add their signatures in support of urging nations to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons amid growing concern about developments that run counter to the goal of nuclear disarmament. Among these developments was the U.S. announcement that it intends to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The group is composed of seven A-bomb survivors’ organizations and other organizations in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Thirty-one members from the two Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations and 13 other groups joined the signature drive. They called on people to support their effort to press the world’s nations to ratify the treaty, which will take effect when it has been ratified by 50 nations. Among the local residents and visitors who signed their name was Luis Filio, 59, a tourist from Brazil. He said that the tragedy of Hiroshima must not be repeated.

The group, which was formed in March of this year, held its first joint signature drive in May. But because of the tremendous damage caused by the torrential rain that hit western Japan this summer, its work was suspended for some time. As of September 20, the group had collected 430,000 signatures, which will be submitted to the United Nations. On November 20, they obtained 300 more signatures. The group aims to amass 1.4 million signatures, half the population of the prefecture, by 2020.

(Originally published on November 21, 2018)