Hiroshima : 70 Years After the A-bombing

Hiroshima Asks: Toward the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing: Survey shows 86% of high school students believe A-bomb accounts contribute to world peace

by Masakazu Domen, Staff Writer

To mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, the Chugoku Shimbun conducted a survey of high school students in Japan and the United States. Almost 90 percent of the 749 respondents agreed that the accounts of A-bomb survivors have had a positive impact on preventing nuclear war and promoting peace in the world. This indicates that these teenagers see great significance in handing down the survivors’ experiences. This percentage is even higher than that found in an earlier survey of A-bomb survivors.

The survey was conducted in March with students at Motomachi High School in Hiroshima, Hosei University Senior High School in Tokyo, and Stuyvesant High School in New York, all known for their programs in peace studies. First-year students of the Japanese high schools (now second-year students) and 16- and 17-year-old students at the American high school were asked to complete a written questionnaire.

Asked “Do you think the accounts of the A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have helped prevent the use of nuclear weapons and advance peace in the world?,” 86.2 percent of all respondents answered positively, choosing “Yes” or “Yes, to some extent.” To the same question in the earlier survey of A-bomb survivors, positive answers were given by 80.4 percent of those living in Japan and 70.9 percent of those living overseas. Many survivors believe in the significance of conveying their experiences, but the results show that members of the younger generation who have received the survivors’ messages recognize this importance even more keenly.

By school, the percentages were 92.0 at Motomachi, 88.1 at Hosei, and 72.1 at Stuyvesant.

Mikiso Iwasa, 86, who serves as the executive director of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations as well as the Tokyo-based NPO “No More Hibakusha Project--Inheriting Memories of the A- and H-Bomb Sufferers,” said, “This result is very encouraging. We survivors will continue sharing our experiences as long as we live. I want young people to see them as an issue for the immediate present, not an old tale of the past.”

(Originally published on May 9, 2015)