Three A-bomb survivors to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in December

Kyodo

Three survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will attend the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in December, the recipient body said Thursday.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won this year’s peace prize for efforts that led to the adoption in July of a landmark U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.

The three hibakusha, including Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow, will attend the Dec. 10 ceremony in Oslo along with people affected by nuclear tests and key ICAN members, the Geneva-based organization said.

Thurlow, an 85-year-old Canada-based advocate of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons, was 13 when the first U.S. atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima. She and ICAN chief Beatrice Fihn will jointly deliver a lecture and receive the award from the Norwegian Nobel Committee, ICAN said.

The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) will select two other Japan-based hibakusha to attend the ceremony.

“This year’s award conveys a message that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which came into effect through appeals made by hibakusha, should be pushed forward,” Akira Kawasaki, a member of ICAN’s international steering group, said at a news conference in Hiroshima. “We want to strengthen our movement and urge all countries to sign and ratify the treaty.”

The treaty has been adopted by more than 100 U.N. members, but Japan and members of the world’s nuclear weapons club are not among them.

Kawasaki later met with Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who said he was grateful to the hibakusha for participating in the ceremony.Kawasaki told Matsui that at the beginning of next year, ICAN would be willing to organize a joint symposium with Hiroshima and Nagasaki to help spread understanding about the treaty.

Matsui responded, “I want to spread a tone that the treaty is not about deepening a divide” between nuclear states who are against it and nonnuclear states who support it.