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Hiroshima survivor: When will nuclear abolition happen?

Hiroshima (U.S. Navy/Released)
August 06, 2020

Regarding the elimination of nuclear weapons, Masanori Ueda, 88, a director of an atomic bombing survivors’ group, in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, reveals his concerns during an interview by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

“How much campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons must we do for the issue to be solved in our lifetimes?” He added that the international situation goes against a nuclear-free world.

He was exposed to radiation at the age of 13 in a factory 1.2 kilometers from the Hiroshima bombing epicenter.

Dozens of female students working in the next building were trapped under the beams, and despite his efforts to rescue them, the beams did not budge and flames immediately engulfed them. The expression of resignation on the young girls’ faces still haunts him to this day.

“How would the leaders of nuclear powers feel if it were their families that were burned alive?” he angrily said.

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His scars from the atomic bombings will last for life.

His school teacher said, “Those who experienced pika-don die early.”

Pika-don is a Japanese word that describes the intense flash of light as the bombs exploded and the strong shock wave immediately afterward.

“You won’t live long enough to graduate,” the teacher added. Even after graduating from school, he was forced to live a life fighting diseases, such as cataracts and kidney cancer. In recent years, his legs and hips have weakened, and he can move only for half a day. Still, it pushes him forward.

“Rather than moving toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, the world is retreating from it. Even so, those who have seen hell have no choice but to continue to bring it to the world’s attention.”

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