After being denied requests to meet with U.S. Embassy officials in Tokyo, members of 50 Nagasaki-based antinuclear citizens’ groups protested outside the embassy gates Sept. 29 over the U.S. subcritical nuclear test conducted earlier this month.

Toshiyuki Hayama, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and 15 citizens representing various Nagasaki-based peace organizations carried banners and voiced their criticism against the nuclear tests, by saying, “The U.S. destructed the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, although it led the way in concluding the treaty.” No nuclear tests must be permitted, no matter what form they are in, the group said.

Fumi Takeshita, 55, who was within a 2-km radius of the hypocenter of the Nagasaki bombing and suffers from thyroid cancer, said, “I don’t want anybody to experience the same agony. We will keep protesting the tests planned by the U.S. government.” The group had asked to meet with an embassy official to submit a letter of protest but were told by an embassy guard they could not enter the compound.

Hayama instead read the statement through a loud speaker outside the embassy’s gate and later handed it over to the guard. “We sent a letter to the embassy for an appointment almost a month ago, but it was neglected. We came all the way from Nagasaki.

“The embassy’s first secretary, James Pierce, did meet with politicians but not citizens over this matter. It’s not fair,” said Nobuto Hirano, another member of the group. “We wanted an ambassador to listen to the voice of hibakusha,” he said.

Coronavirus banner