Seven A-bomb survivors’ groups to hold signature drive calling for Japan’s ratification of nuclear ban treaty

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On March 17, seven Hiroshima A-bomb survivors’ groups announced the launch of a signature drive to urge the Japanese government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Working with the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organization (Nihon Hidankyo), which launched the signature drive in conjunction with the TPNW’s entry into force on January 22, the groups will put pressure on the Japanese government to change its nuclear policy from the A-bombed city of Hiroshima. They will start to collect signatures in some places, such as in the neighborhood of the Rest House in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (in the city’s Naka Ward) on March 22, two months from the treaty’s entry into force.

The seven groups include the two groups that are both known as the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo), the Committee Seeking Measures for the Korean A-bomb Victims, and the Council of A-bombed Koreans in Hiroshima. The groups’ decision follows Nihon Hidankyo, whose members were collecting signatures themselves and calling on organizations in all prefectures throughout Japan to do a similar activity based on their local conditions.

The groups prepared signature sheets themselves based on the Nihon Hidankyo’s form. They stressed the significance of the treaty, saying, “The treaty is an epoch-making international law that stipulates the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the support of nuclear-affected sufferers (hibakusha) throughout the world.” They are going to collect signatures on the streets on 22 of the odd-numbered months after March 22.

The collected signatures will be sent to Nihon Hidankyo, which plans to total up the number of signatures in November and submit them to the central government.

A-bomb survivors and second-generation A-bomb survivors of the five groups took part in a press conference at City Hall on March 17. Satoshi Tanaka, 77, secretary general of the Hiroshima Alliance of A-bomb survivor Organizations, who takes on the responsibility of acting as coordinator, stressed, “In order to make the treaty work, the A-bombed nation of Japan must ratify the treaty and play a part in urging nuclear weapon states to sign and ratify it.”

(Originally published on March 18, 2021)