Hibakusha embark on no-nukes sea voyage


Survivors of the U.S. atomic bombings during World War II have begun a 100-day voyage to relate their experiences to the world and share lessons from the Fukushima nuclear crisis to spread their message against both nuclear power generation and weapons.

Around 950 people left Yokohama port Tuesday.

During the fifth such trip organized by the Japan-based Peace Boat nongovernmental organization, the survivors will visit Ukraine for the first time and meet with people who survived the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

“I used to think developing atomic weapons was something different from the peaceful use of nuclear power such as at nuclear plants, but the Fukushima accident made me realize that for mankind to use nuclear power goes against God’s way,” 78-year-old Kazumi Yamada, who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki when she was 12, told a news conference before the NGO’s passenger vessel got under way.

Hiroshima bombing survivor Shizuko Matsunaga, 80, who has thyroid disease, said she worries about the future of children in Fukushima Prefecture.

“I want to spread the message that we should never use nuclear power on Earth,” she told the news conference.

The vessel will make port calls in about 20 countries, including in South America and Africa, and is scheduled to return to Japan on May 3.

The participants are also slated to exchange views with members of antinuclear groups in some countries.