Atomic bomb survivors nominated for Nobel prize via The Japan Times

In this 70th year anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Swiss-based International Peace Bureau (IPB) nominated Hidankyo (Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations) for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. This is Hidankyo’s third such nomination by the IPB, following earlier bids in 1985 and 1994. There are about 60,000 survivors of the atomic bombings and their average age is nearly 80 years old.

“Over these 70 years they have made the choice of activism,” the IPB wrote in its nominating letter, “unceasingly recounting their experiences and struggles, and working constantly for a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons, appealing to governments and peoples all over the world.”

Hidankyo demands that the government admit the Japanese state’s responsibility for launching a war of aggression that eventually led to the atomic bombings, and argues that it should therefore provide state compensation to the bereaved families, as well as the survivors. It was not until 1957 that the government established medical services for the hibakusha and in 1994, the Hibakusha Aid Law was adopted, but Hidankyo says this law is inadequate because it doesn’t provide state compensation or admit the state’s war responsibility.

Hidankyo members also participate in the annual Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) review conferences, speaking of their experiences in order to remind participating countries what is at stake. This past May at the NPT review conference in New York, the Japanese government proposed that world leaders visit the A-bombed cities so they could better understand the effects of nuclear weapons. This proposal was dropped at China’s request as Beijing claimed Japan was trying to portray itself as a victim of World War II while downplaying its role as victimizer. Yet again, Tokyo found that festering issues relating to its wartime conduct in the 1930s and ’40s hampers its diplomacy in the 21st century.

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