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Hibakusha pleads for global ban at UN meeting

October 17, 2017


Hibakusha urges global nuclear ban at UN



A survivor of the 1945 Nagasaki atomic bombing has urged countries around the world to sign a treaty banning nuclear arms at a UN meeting in New York.

Tokuko Kimura, an 82-year-old survivor - known as "hibakusha" in Japanese - spoke at a session organized by Austria's UN representative and a Japanese NGO on Monday. Austria played a leading role in the adoption of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July.

Kimura was 10-years-old when the Japanese city was bombed by the United States in 1945. She described how badly burned victims sought shelter at her house, located more than 3 kilometers away from ground zero. She said she saw some die after taking a sip of water.

Kimura also referred to a classmate who appeared healthy for a while but died a few years after the bombing, apparently due to the effects of radiation exposure. She said she wants no one in any country to experience the same kind of hardship that she and fellow survivors have endured.

Among those in attendance was a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, an organization which won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

The ICAN member said Kimura's speech was a reminder that the campaign to abolish nuclear arms must move forward. The member added that governments around the world should listen to the testimonies of hibakusha when making decisions about the future of nuclear arms.

Nuclear armed states oppose the UN treaty, along with countries that depend on the nuclear umbrella, including Japan.

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