TIA WEB DESK
In a rare campaign to end nuke war in future, the Survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Friday presented a petition with nearly 3 million signatures to U.N. officials as a conference to negotiate the world’s first nuclear weapons ban treaty was underway.
According to Kyodo, Toshiyuki Mimaki, 75, and Masako Wada, 73 — survivors, respectively, of the Hiroshima bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, and the Nagasaki bombing three days later — handed over the signatures and an accompanying letter to Costa Rican Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, who serves as chair of the three-week conference that began on Thursday.
A group of hibakusha living in Japan and abroad began a campaign last spring to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo).
“We collected about 3 million signatures,” Wada, Hidankyo’s assistant secretary general, told Gomez as she presented a red paper crane made by her elderly relative. “She encouraged us to collect more and more signatures. We are trying.”
Called the “appeal of the hibakusha,” the grass-roots movement has garnered significant support. It aims to gather hundreds of millions of signatures by 2020 so that survivors — whose numbers are dwindling — will see the destructive devices banned in their lifetimes.
Mimaki, who shed tears during the encounter with Gomez, personally invited her to Hiroshima as Izumi Nakamitsu, the newly appointed undersecretary general and high representative for disarmament affairs, stood at her side.