Hiroshima : 70 Years After the A-bombing

Hiroshima Asks: Toward the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing: A-bomb survivors vow to “save mankind from the crisis of nuclear weapons”

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On May 10, a regular general meeting of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) was held in Tokyo. “Save mankind from the crisis of nuclear weapons through our experiences” became this year’s resolution, which was approved with a round of applause from the representatives of the various regional A-bomb survivors’ groups taking part in the meeting.

The average age of the survivors is now nearly 80. The youngest participant was a 69-year-old survivor who suffered prenatal exposure to the A-bomb’s radiation. Although this year’s vow sounds lofty, it is not hyperbole.

Their resolution comes from the confidence that they have stuck to their belief that spreading their experiences of the atomic bombings across the world will prevent nuclear arms from being used again. Still, this sentiment also clearly reflects a sense of crisis that nuclear weapons remain in the world today.

The participants again made the appeal to have nuclear weapons eliminated during their lifetime. Mikiso Iwasa, 86, the executive director of Nihon Hidankyo, said in a ringing voice, “The international community is rising up, demanding that nuclear weapons be abolished. We would like to work together with the citizens of the world to realize this goal.”

This year’s resolution comes from the “Message to the World,” which was part of Nihon Hidankyo’s mission statement when it was established in 1956, 11 years after the atomic bombings. The text of the “Message” was prepared by the late Ichiro Moritaki, then professor emeritus of Hiroshima University, who spearheaded the survivors’ movement and the ban-the-bomb movement. Returning to the origins of the organization 59 years ago, the A-bomb survivors will muster all their strength to ensure that “mankind will be saved from the crisis of nuclear weapons.”

(Originally published on June 21, 2015)