OSAKA (Kyodo) Nearly 90 percent of the atomic bomb survivors who visited New York for a U.N. conference in May held to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty expressed dissatisfaction with Japan’s efforts at disarmament.
In a survey by Kyodo News, 95 percent of the hibakusha expressed concerns over whether their experiences can be passed on to future generations, suggesting widespread frustration with what they perceive as Japan’s failure to carry out its responsibility as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack.
Meanwhile, 74 percent expressed high hopes for the vision of a nuclear-free world advocated by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Kyodo sent questionnaires to 87 hibakusha who attended events in New York during the conference, and got responses from 66 of them. This Friday marks the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Of the respondents, 47 percent said the Japanese government has not been making disarmament efforts, while 39 percent said it hasn’t been doing very much. With the two groups combined, 86 percent expressed dissatisfaction with the nation’s disarmament efforts.
None said Japan has been making considerable efforts on the matter, with 12 percent saying it has been making efforts “to some degree.”
Two percent withheld judgment.
In a multiple-answer question asking what Japan needs, 33 percent said the prime minister’s will and action, 22 percent said encouragement from nuclear-weapons states, and 16 percent said more diplomatic efforts.
No Japanese leaders, including then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama or Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, attended the review conference in May, prompting criticism and disappointment among the survivors.
Only 2 percent said they had no worries about having their bombing experience passed on to future generations, with 3 percent saying they don’t worry about it very much.
Many who were worried said it is important to promote peace education and create records of their testimonies.
Eighty percent viewed positively the prospect of the world moving toward nuclear eradication. But some said they observed a lack of interest in nuclear issues during conference events in the United States.
The 66 respondents included a crew member from the Fukuryu Maru No. 5, a tuna fishing boat that was hit by radiation from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test in the South Pacific in March 1954.
HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Atomic bomb survivors, schoolchildren and other people surrounded the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on Sunday and connected about 900 ribboned banners sent in from around Japan to call for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
“We hope that children will take over the wish for peace,” said Miyoko Watanabe, 80, representing the organizing group of Hiroshima bomb survivors.
The event has taken place every five years since 1990.
About 100 elementary and junior high school students from Hiroshima, Saitama, Fukuoka and other prefectures took part in the event.
Dubbed “ribbons of peace,” the banners, each measuring 50 cm × 100 cm, were hand-painted and patterned in various ways to express the designers’ hopes for peace and bore messages like “no more nukes” and “for a world where children’s smiles shine.”
Participants tied the banners together using ribbons attached to each of the four corners and offered a silent prayer at 8:15 a.m., the time that the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb Aug. 6, 1945.
“I joined together the ribbons hoping that the world becomes peaceful,” said 15-year-old Nozomi Fukunaga, a junior high school student from Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the gutted, domed building symbolizes the devastation caused by the atomic bombing.
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