Hiroshima survivors call for nuclear disarmament ahead of G7 summit
By Edurne Morillo
Hiroshima, Japan, May 16 (EFE).- Survivors of the Hiroshima nuclear disaster called on world leaders on Tuesday to ban nuclear weapons ahead of the G7 summit to be held in the city in western Japan later this week.
Seventy-eight years after an atomic bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima, leaders of the group of seven wealthiest nations are to meet for their 49th meeting as the war in Ukraine rages and the threat of nuclear battle has resurfaced.
“I know very well that there are many problems like the one in Ukraine or the political problem in East Asia,” the mayor of the city, Kazumi Matsui, told EFE.
“I think the summit in Hiroshima will be an opportunity to make leaders think and guide them when looking for a solution,” Matsui added.
The Hiroshima official hoped that leaders would see the human consequences of the catastrophic bombing first-hand so that “what happened here, is never repeated.”
In 2016, Barack Obama, persuaded by the then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, became the first US president to travel to the city in a historic visit, something the incumbent Fumio Kishida seeks to repeat with Joe Biden.
The mayor of Hiroshima hoped that this visit will conclude with the signing of a resolution against the use of atomic weapons and a clear message for peace amid recurrent nuclear threats from Russia.
“I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT DAY”
Survivors of the atomic tragedy, known as hibakusha, all of whom are at least 78 years old and many of whom have faced secondary effects linked to radiation, are calling for disarmament ahead of the summit.
“Since you are coming to Hiroshima, a place that has suffered so much, I hope you will take a good look at the facts and I hope you will make efforts to eradicate nuclear weapons,” said Kiyomi Kono, a 92-year-old survivor, who was 35 km from the hypocenter of the explosion when the nuclear bomb struck Hiroshima.
Kono recounted how, after the bombing, she went to the city center to search for her two sisters.
“I will never forget that day,” she added, visibly moved.
She recalled the bodies of young people piled up in hospitals as she frantically searched for her family.
BAN ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
“What hurts my soul the most is that Japan does not ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” Kono lamented.
“I want Kishida to be adamant about not participating in any war, but there are differences in the way of thinking between politicians and the people,” she concluded.
The Japanese government has not ratified the TPNW which came into force in 2021 and would force the Asian country to leave the United States nuclear umbrella, a security alliance between both nations.
The TPNW treaty includes prohibitions on the development, production, possession, use, or threat of use of nuclear weapons, and seeks to send a clearer and more forceful message than the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), penned in 1970 and to which Japan is a signatory.
The G7 is particularly divided on this issue, since several of its members are nuclear states, including the US, the United Kingdom and France.