A-bomb survivors to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On October 30, the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) announced that it will send its co-chair, Terumi Tanaka, 85, and assistant secretary general, Toshiki Fujimori, 73, to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in December. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 has been won by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Both Mr. Tanaka and Mr. Fujimori expressed enthusiasm for the trip, saying that they would like to make use of their appearance at the ceremony as an opportunity to appeal to the world for the abolition of nuclear arms.

The award ceremony will be held on December 10 in Oslo, Norway. In light of the contributions made by the A-bomb survivors in helping to advance nuclear abolition, ICAN asked Hidankyo to choose some survivors to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Mr. Tanaka and Mr. Fujimori will visit Norway from December 8 to 14 and attend the award ceremony and a banquet. Although there are currently no plans for them to give speeches, if the opportunity presents itself at related events, they will talk about their experiences of the atomic bombings and their fervent desire for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

At the award ceremony, Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s executive director, and Setsuko Thurlow, 85, an A-bomb survivor who lives in Toronto, Canada, will both give speeches and receive a commemorative medal and an award certificate.

The Nobel Committee praised ICAN for advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons through its cooperation with the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and for making vital contributions toward realizing the establishment of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Mr. Tanaka said, “I’ll attend the ceremony knowing how happy the award has made all A-bomb survivors throughout the country. If given a chance to speak, I’ll call on all the people of the world to work together for the goal of nuclear abolition.” Mr. Fujimori said, “In light of the current situation in which the nuclear weapon states and their allies, including Japan, are turning their back on the nuclear weapons ban treaty, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize happened at the ideal time to draw attention to the campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons. I hope this will increase the momentum for our campaign.”

Mr. Tanaka, a resident of Niiza, Saitama Prefecture, experienced the Nagasaki A-bombing at the age of 13 and lost five relatives. Since the 1970s, he has led the movement of A-bomb survivors for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Mr. Fujimori, a resident of Chino, Nagano Prefecture, was exposed to the atomic bombing in present-day Higashi Ward, Hiroshima when he was 16 months old. His sister, who was thought to have been near the hypocenter at the time of the bombing, was never found. He attended two conferences for the negotiations to establish the nuclear weapons ban treaty that were held this year at United Nations headquarters in New York and delivered a speech in which he stressed the inhumane consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on October 31, 2017)