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The long and continuing struggle of Japan’s Hibakusha against nuclear weapons

Japan’s atomic bomb survivors continue in fight against nuclear weapons
As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear attack, survivors ponder how to continue warning of the horrors of nuclear war,
Guardian,   31 July It is not as if Sunao Tsuboi needs another reminder of his violent encounter, as a 20-year-old university student, with a “living hell on earth”. The facial scars he has carried for seven decades are proof enough. But, as if to remind himself of the day he became a witness to the horrors of nuclear warfare, he removes a a black-and-white photograph and points to the shaved head of a young man looking away from the lens.

sunao Tsuboi on Miyuki Bridge 1945

“That’s me,” he says. “We were hoping we would find some sort of medical help, but there was no treatment available, and no food or water. I thought I had reached the end.”

The location is Miyuki Bridge, Hiroshima, three hours after the Enola Gay, a US B-29 bomber, dropped a 15-kiloton nuclear bomb on the city on the morning of 6 August 1945. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed instantly; in the months that followed the death toll rose to 140,000.

In the photo, one of only a handful of surviving images taken in Hiroshima that day, Tsuboi is sitting on the road with several other people, their gaze directed at the gutted buildings around them. To one side, police officers douse schoolchildren with cooking oil to help soothe the pain of their burns.

As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear attack in history, Tsuboi and tens of thousands of other hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) are again confronting their own mortality.

“People like me are losing the strength to talk about their experiences and continue the campaign against nuclear weapons,” says Tsuboi, a retired school principal who has travelled the world to warn of the horrors of nuclear warfare.

The average age of the 183,000 registered survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks rose just above 80 for the first time last month.

While each has a unique recollection of the morning of 6 August and its aftermath, near disbelief at the scale of destruction is a theme that runs through hibakusha testimony…..

“If the hibakusha continue to speak out against nuclear weapons, then other people will follow suit. That’s why we have to continue our campaign for as long as we are physically able.”….http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/31/japan-atomic-bomb-survivors-nuclear-weapons-hiroshima-70th-anniversary

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August 1, 2015 - Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear

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