At annual meeting, Nihon Hidankyo verifies its stance to demand that Japan’s government join the TPNW

by Koji Higuchi, Staff Writer

On October 4, the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) held a meeting at a Tokyo hotel with representatives from each prefecture in attendance. Looking back on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in August and the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in June, participants reconfirmed their stance to urge Japan’s government, which continues to turn its back on the treaty, to sign and ratify the TPNW. The meeting will be held through October 5.

Toshiyuki Mimaki, 80, co-chairperson of Nihon Hidankyo and chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hiroshima Hidankyo), spoke in front of about 60 representatives from 21 groups across Japan. “Although A-bomb survivors are aging, I hope we can have a meaningful meeting with thorough discussions,” said Mr. Mimaki. Participants also listened to reports from Nihon Hidankyo members who had participated in the two international conferences.

The organization’s Representative Director Masashi Ieshima, a resident of Tokyo, 80, revealed that he was questioned by other countries at the meeting venue why the A-bombed nation of Japan did not attend the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW. He said, “Japan cannot play the role of the A-bombed nation unless it participates in the TPNW at least as an observer and listens to their (non-nuclear weapons states’) opinions.” Citing the speech at the NPT Review Conference in which she called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, Masako Wada, 78, the organization’s assistant secretary general who lives in Yokohama City, said, “Although the meeting participants could not reach a final agreement, I will continue demanding that the government ratify the TPNW.”

While some prefectural groups reported difficulties in continuing their A-bombing testimony activities due to a diminished number of members, others expressed their determination to continue the work until the last A-bomb survivor. On October 5, the organization will discuss its action plans and financial situation.

(Originally published on October 5, 2022)