OSLO: A Hiroshima bombing survivor, who is to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Saturday accused Western nuclear powers of “sabotaging” disarmament efforts.
While Sunday’s Nobel ceremony in Oslo will bring together several survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings that killed at least 220,000 people 72 years ago, it will be snubbed by the ambassadors of the United States, France and the UK.
Contrary to custom, the three western nuclear powers will be represented by second-ranking diplomats in an apparent sign of distrust of the ICAN-backed treaty to ban the nuclear weapon.
Setsuko Thurlow, who was 13 years old when the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, said he was “not too surprised”.
“They tried in many different ways to sabotage, to discredit what we tried to do,” the 85-year-old, who now lives in Canada, told a press conference in Oslo.
“I am sorry that’s happening … but maybe that shows they’re really annoyed at what success we have had so far,” she added.
A coalition of hundreds of NGOs around the world, ICAN has worked for a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty which 122 countries in July agreed to sign and which 56 have signed to date. But the treaty has been weakened by the absence of the nine nuclear powers among the signatories.
Thurlow also criticised her native Japan, which benefits from US nuclear protection over threats from North Korea, for failing to sign the treaty.
“Japan has a moral responsibility,” she said. “We’re the only ones to really know the horror” of nuclear weapons.