A-bomb survivors collect signatures in Hiroshima for ratification of TPNW two years after treaty went into effect

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

On January 22, two years after the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that comprehensively bans nuclear weapons went into effect, A-bomb survivors called for further signature and ratification of the treaty through a signature campaign and candlelight messages in and around Peace Memorial Park, located in the city’s Naka Ward. As the international situation surrounding nuclear weapons becomes increasingly tense with (the nuclear superpower) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the voices of the A-bombed city echoed for “a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Seven A-bomb survivors organizations, including two Hiroshima Prefectural Confederations of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyos), held a signature campaign near the Rest House calling on the Japanese government to sign and ratifying the nuclear ban treaty. Thirteen A-bomb survivors and second-generation A-bomb survivors attended the signature campaign. Toshiyuki Mimaki, 80, chair of the Hiroshima Hidankyo, said, “Nuclear weapons must be abolished. This is the only path forward.” Kunihiko Sakuma, 78, chair of the other Hiroshima Hidankyo, stressed, “The signature of each and every person is a step toward eliminating nuclear weapons.” 56 signatures were collected in about 30 minutes.

That evening, the citizens’ group Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA) lit about 1,500 candles in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome with the words “PEACE FOR UKRAINE! NO NUKE WAR! 2023” (Peace in Ukraine! Do not permit nuclear war!). About 50 people gathered. Haruko Moritaki, 83, HANWA group adviser, said with conviction, “Hiroshima has a special responsibility to tell people how inhumane the threat of using nuclear weapons to kill people is.”

While 68 countries and regions have signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the nuclear weapons states and Japan (which falls under the “US nuclear umbrella), have turned their back on the treaty. The second meeting of States Parties to the TPNW is scheduled to be held in New York in November and December of this year.

(Originally published on January 23, 2023)