Atomic Bomb Survivors Urge Trump Not To ‘Turn Clock Back’

BY AI TANABE, Staff Writer The Asahi Shimbun

Hibakusha atomic bomb survivors admonished U.S. President Donald Trump for threatening to walk away from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in a protest letter sent to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Oct. 22. The note, addressed in Japanese to the commander-in-chief, was compiled by five hibakusha groups in Nagasaki expressing their concerns over the proposed withdrawal from the 1987 treaty signed by the United States and the Soviet Union.

The groups stated that if the United States pulls out of the treaty, “global momentum for nuclear disarmament will fade away while the likelihood of a nuclear war crisis will rise.”

Citing the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that is expected to come into effect next year, the hibakusha slammed Trump’s decision in the letter and implored him “not to turn the clock back.”

Koichi Kawano, 78, the chairman of the hibakusha liaison council of the Nagasaki prefectural peace movement center, blasted Trump during a news conference held at the Nagasaki city government office that day.

“Successive U.S. presidents had meetings with their Soviet and Russian counterparts, even if they were poles apart on issues,” said Kawano. “But President Trump has no such attitude, and we are getting more desperate and feel anxious.”

Minoru Moriuchi, 81, vice chairman of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council, said not only the U.S. president’s INF exit, but also Japan and its peoples’ indifference to the matter, could threaten the entire human race.

“Once a nuclear war occurs, it could imperil all of humanity. But now only hibakusha are raising our voices against the move,” complained Moriuchi. “I’m bitterly frustrated that the Japanese government and people are doing nothing against it.”

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said he “called for the United States and Russia to negotiate calmly and not to put back the clock to the Cold War era.”

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