Seven A-bomb survivors’ groups initiate signature campaign to call on Japanese government to ratify nuclear ban treaty

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On March 22, two months after the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) went into effect, seven A-bomb survivors’ groups based in Hiroshima initiated a signature campaign to call on the Japanese government to sign and ratify the treaty. The groups include two organizations both named the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hiroshima Prefectural Hidankyo). The groups will collect signatures of citizens of Hiroshima and tourists who have learned of the devastation caused by the atomic bombing, with a view to urging the government to change its policy.

Fifteen members, including A-bomb survivors, participated in the work of collecting signatures near the Rest House in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, located in the city’s Naka Ward. The members set up a table for writing signatures and exhibited a banner calling on the government to join the treaty. Toshiyuki Mimaki, 79, acting chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Hidankyo chaired by Sunao Tsuboi, and Kunihiko Sakuma, 76, chair of the other Hiroshima Prefectural Hidankyo, called on people to sign the petition. “Every signature will contribute toward moving the government,” they said.

Koichi Morinaka, 77, from the city of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and his grandson, Shion Nakao, 12, who will be a junior high school student in April, signed their names. “Looking at the artifacts in the Peace Memorial Museum, I came to believe that the Japanese government should definitely ratify the treaty,” said Mr. Morinaka. Shion Nakao said, “I hope the world can work to eliminate wars and nuclear weapons.”

In January, the national-level Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) launched a signature drive demanding that the Japanese government join the treaty and encouraged the organization’s prefectural chapters to collect signatures in consideration of the circumstances of each district. The seven groups that are based in Hiroshima will continue to collect signatures in Peace Memorial Park on the 22nd day of odd-numbered months. The Nihon Hidankyo organization will collect signatures from throughout the country and submit them to the government in November.

(Originally published on March 23, 2021)