Survivors of the atomic bombings in Japan have a "profound role" to play in catastrophes such as the coronavirus pandemic, a leading American psychohistorian renowned for his studies of people under stress said in a recent interview.

Robert Lifton, a former U.S. Air Force psychiatrist who spent six months in 1962 studying the human effects of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima, said that the world can learn a lot from hibakusha, because "right now technically, you and I, and virtually everyone in the world is a survivor of the virus pandemic."

Hibakusha play "the survivor role of renewal" in their determination to tell others of the threat nuclear weapons pose to humanity, making them "crucial for a message of possibility about the future and the rejection of the catastrophe," the 95-year-old added.