A-bomb survivor groups gather signatures of support for nuclear weapons ban treaty, marking its first anniversary

by Yo Kono, Staff Writer

On July 7, which marked the first anniversary of the establishment of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Hibakusha Appeal Tokyo network, consisting of 19 Tokyo-based A-bomb survivor organizations including Toyukai (Tokyo Federation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations), gathered in front of the JR Shinjuku Station in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo to gather signatures in support of all countries concluding the treaty to ban and abolish nuclear weapons.

The signature drive was attended by about 120 members including Terumi Tanaka, 86, the co-chair of Nihon Hidankyo, and Kohei Oiwa, 86, the representative director of Toyukai. As July 7 was also the day that marks the star festival, the participants held a banner with the words “Star Festival Action” written on it and asked passersby to add their signatures to a signature sheet.

Mr. Oiwa, who was exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, used a microphone to forcefully state that the nuclear weapons ban treaty is an important step in the quest for achieving a world without nuclear weapons. He criticized the nuclear-armed nations and the Japanese government for not supporting the treaty, and emphasized the importance of showing how strongly the public is opposed to nuclear weapons by insisting that top government officials of every nation take note of these signatures.

The signatures will be submitted to the United Nations in October. The signature drive participants also asked passersby to write their wishes for the abolition of nuclear weapons on colored strips of paper that were then tied to bamboo sticks for the star festival.

(Originally published on July 8, 2018)