HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI – Survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have welcomed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s commitment for “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, calling it a major step toward achieving a nuclear-free world.
At their historic summit on Tuesday in Singapore, Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump signed a joint statement that included a denuclearization commitment by Pyongyang and a pledge to provide it with a security guarantee by Washington.
“Denuclearization is difficult, but it is a new step forward,” said Kunihiko Sakuma, 73, who heads the Hiroshima chapter of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations.
“Through dialogue with the United States, Mr. Kim probably came to understand that possessing nuclear weapons would not lead to peace,” Sakuma said.
Kim Chin Ho, a senior member of the council of Korean atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima Prefecture, called the summit “very significant in seeking to realize a world free of nuclear weapons including on the Korean Peninsula.”
Miyako Jodai, 78, who lived just 2.4 kilometers from ground zero in Nagasaki when the United States dropped a second atomic bomb in August 1945, said, “Mr. Kim agreed to denuclearization at a time the international community is closely paying attention. I think he is serious.”
She called on the Japanese government to take on the elimination of nuclear weapons “seriously” and to see the Trump-Kim summit as an opportunity.
But some atomic-bomb survivors were disappointed by the Trump-Kim summit, which failed to achieve an agreement on “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” denuclearization or a concrete time frame for the elimination of atomic weapons.
“I thought Mr. Trump will step in further (on the issue) but the content of the agreement is empty. It was a letdown,” said Koichi Kawano, 78, a member of a group supporting the atomic bomb survivors in Japan.