Hibakusha calls for abolition of nuclear arms

Hibakusha calls for abolition of nuclear arms

A Japanese atomic bomb survivor called for global nuclear disarmament during a meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

Jiro Hamasumi was in his mother's womb when a nuclear bomb exploded above Hiroshima in 1945. He lost his father to the blast and her mother suffered from radiation exposure as she searched for him.

Hamasumi called on the world to disarm all nuclear weapons while speaking at a preparatory committee meeting for the 2020 review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT.

He is assistant secretary general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H- Bomb Sufferers Organization or Nihon Hidankyo.

Hamasumi said the war has not yet ended because nuclear arms still exist in the world. He noted that there are about 7,200 survivors who were exposed to radiation in utero.

He said the impact of radiation on these survivors cannot be measured because they were exposed while in the womb. Yet they live in constant fear for not only their own health, but that of their children and grandchildren.

Hamasumi added that it is the mission of the hibakusha and adults around the world to ensure that all children can inherit a clear, blue sky free of nuclear weapons and wars.

After the speech, atomic bomb survivors submitted a petition with 9.4 million signatures, calling on all nations to take part in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The petition was handed to Ambassador Syed Md Hasrin Tengku Hussin of Malaysia, who chaired the session as well as Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

Nihon Hidankyo's secretary general Sueichi Kido, who survived the 1945 Nagasaki bombing, said he felt a sense of urgency when he heard debates at UN meetings.

Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui talked of a disturbing trend of nuclear powers not engaging in disarmament negotiation but instead continuing to modernize their weapons. He called on nations around the world to hold serious negotiations ahead of the 2020 review conference.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said competition to develop smaller and easy-to-use nuclear weapons has already begun and the risk of possible use had increased. He said the United States and Russia should initiate a dialogue to come up with a concrete process to reduce threats arising from nuclear arms.