‘Crime against humanity should never be repeated’: Setsuko Thurlow speaks online at nationwide showing of film depicting her life of anti-nuclear activism

by Kentaro Tanaka, Staff Writer

On April 17, Setsuko Thurlow, 89, an A-bomb survivor originally from Hiroshima who has made great efforts for realization of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), appeared online to give remarks coinciding with the nationwide showing in Japan of the documentary film depicting her life titled “The Vow from Hiroshima.” Her remarks were broadcast simultaneously at five movie venues in Japan, including the Hatchoza movie theater in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward.

From her home in Canada, Ms. Thurlow expressed her gratitude to the audience. “I didn’t expect that so many people would come and see the film today.” In her remarks, she looked back on her life including her continued anti-nuclear appeals to the world after she experienced the atomic bombing at the area of Futabanosato (now part of Hiroshima’s Higashi Ward) when she was 13. “I have always been driven by a sense of mission that I need to ensure this kind of crime against humanity would never be repeated,” she said.

Japan’s national government has yet to ratify the TPNW, which entered into effect in January this year. Ms. Thurlow called for action by the audience. “You must not only pray for peace but also express to the government your opinions about peace.”

Mitchie Takeuchi, the film’s producer and second-generation A-bomb survivor, and Susan Strickler, director of the documentary, also appeared on the remote broadcast. They recounted episodes in their movie-production process that made them sympathize with Ms. Thurlow’s philosophy of life. The film will be shown onscreen at the Hatchoza movie theater in Hiroshima until April 29.

(Originally published on April 18, 2021)