Hibakusha Setsuko Thurlow, an iconic anti-nuclear activist who survived the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, has called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet with people whose views differ with his own after she was unable to secure a meeting with the leader on Thursday.
Thurlow, who lives in Canada and works for the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), visited the Prime Minister’s Office, only to meet Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura. She had requested a meeting with Abe.
At a news conference later in the day, Thurlow said Abe could have been too busy but also acknowledged that he may have avoided her intentionally. She said true leadership involves meeting people with differing views and continuing discussions with them.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a separate news conference that Abe was not able to meet Thurlow due to his tight schedule.
During her meeting with Nishimura, Thurlow said it is heart-wrenching that Japan, the only atomic-bombed country in the world as well as her home country, has not joined the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Thurlow handed Nishimura a letter for Abe in which she expressed her hope that Japan will end its reliance on U.S. nuclear weapons.