International Kenny Stancil

Nagasaki Survivor Denounces ‘Absolute Evil’ of Nuclear Bombs on Eve of Vienna Summit

"The atomic bomb is a weapon of inhumanity and of absolute evil, with which human beings cannot exist," said 82-year-old Sueichi Kido.
Sueichi Kido. [Kyodo]

By Kenny Stancil | Common Dreams

A survivor of the August 9, 1945 bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki by the United States conveyed the inhumanity of atomic weapons on Monday ahead of an international meeting that seeks to eliminate the world’s growing nuclear arsenal.

“The atomic bomb is a weapon of inhumanity and of absolute evil, with which human beings cannot exist and which does not allow us to even live or die as human beings,” said Sueichi Kido, 82, after describing what happened when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on his city just three days after it had already annihilated Hiroshima.

The U.S. remains the only country to have deployed a nuclear weapon against a civilian population during wartime.

Survivors’ pain and post-traumatic stress is “not something that fades away, but something which continues through their lives,” Kido, secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations, said through an interpreter at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

The one-day conference, hosted by the Austrian government, precedes a three-day summit in Vienna—the first Meeting of States Parties to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) since the United Nations pact came into force last January.

The world’s nine nuclear-armed states, including the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members—Russia, the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom—as well as Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea, have refused to support the TPNW and won’t take part in this week’s historic gathering.

Despite being the only nation to experience the catastrophic destruction wrought by a nuclear attack, Japan has also not signed the treaty. Furthermore, Kyodo News reported Monday that Tokyo officials have decided not to participate in this week’s summit, even as observers.

While the Japanese government will not be there, a large number of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors are expected to attend.

Suzuka Nakamura, a 22-year-old university student whose grandmother was exposed to radioactive waste from the bomb in Nagasaki, also spoke at Monday’s conference as part of Japan’s delegation.

It is “up to us,” she said, “to remember the horror of the atomic bombings and to prevent repetition of the same mistakes in the future.”

Referring to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Nakamura noted that “now people of Ukraine and the world are horrified by Russian President [Vladimir] Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in the current war.”

Kido, for his part, said that “we have continued to appeal to the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons and for a world without war.”

“The treaty embodies this very aspiration,” he continued, adding that he hopes the upcoming meeting of signatories to the TPNW—which seeks to outlaw the development, possession, testing, and use of nuclear weapons—is successful.

Sofia Wolman, campaign manager of the Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative, explained in a recent statement that “countries that join the TPNW are legally obligated to provide victim assistance to affected communities.”

“For the U.S., ratification would mean finally acknowledging the people exposed to the first nuclear weapon ever used, and their descendants,” said Wolman, alluding to the thousands of victims of the Trinity Test conducted in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, described how that explosion “produced more heat than the sun, and caused radioactive ash to fall for days—covering and contaminating crops, homes, bodies, and water supplies.”

“We were innocent children, women, and men who were left to deal with the horrid consequences of being overexposed to radioactive fallout,” said Cordova. “Our families suffer from cancer, radiation-related illnesses, and early death.”

“The people of New Mexico have been waiting over 77 years,” Cordova continued. “We have never been acknowledged although we were the original downwinders, the first people to be exposed to a nuclear bomb and nuclear fallout anyplace in the world.”

“We have been casualties of the U.S. government’s quest for nuclear superiority,” she added. “There is so much more to the history than what the U.S. government has been willing to share, and we were the human sacrifice.”

Mary Dickson, another American downwinder who is attending this week’s events in Vienna, described herself in a recent Common Dreams essay as “a casualty of the Cold War, a survivor of nuclear weapons testing.”

“Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah during the Cold War I was repeatedly exposed to dangerous levels of radioactive fallout from hundreds of detonations at the Nevada Test Site just 65 miles west of Las Vegas,” she wrote. “A government that knowingly harms its own citizens must be held accountable. Our lives are worth more than civilization-ending weapons. It’s a simple matter of priorities and justice.”

7 comments

    1. Yes, and Truman, as an element of this expanding “Quiet American” [Graham Greene] Empire, was installed in America’s first Coup d’état in 1944 orchestrated by the OSS and DNC, by means of blocking FDR’s brilliant VP, Henry Wallace, who was physically blocked from taking the podium despite having overwhelming 60%+ popular support on the floor of the Democratic Convention.

      Ironically, it was exactly 60 years later that Ron Suskind in the New York Times, who hectored and pressed Karl Rove enough so as to pressure him into exploding and lashing out his infamous quoted epitaph that “We’re an EMPIRE now …” — which “these ‘Times’ they are a-changing” printed in the Paper of Record, in October of 2004!

      At current count the DNC installed non-violent coup in ‘44 was the first such crime of Empire against the U.S. government, while the first violent coup occurred in ‘63, and the rest was just “coups all the way down” as Bertrand Russell said. Of course, since the installation of the First ‘Actor’ faux President in 1980, was followed by a string of faux-President ‘actors’ from former George H. W. Bush CIA Director to “Free Slick Willy” Clinton, more Shrub Bushes, and a flip-flopping of the cast of other ‘bit-players’ in forgettable roles, with the exception of Bernie being “shot twice” — as the old joke about what to do if you were locked in a cage with Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and John Sununu, but had a revolver with only two shots —- answer: —- shoot Sununu Twice.

      1. Ha. I thought you were referring to journalist Gary Webb who “committed suicide” by shooting himself in the head twice. Hard to accomplish, I would think.

  1. Just like cancer eventually overtakes and kills a human body, the reptilian humans have overtaken our species.

  2. And the US government was ranting and raving about Saddam Hussein “performing chemical attacks against his own people”! For that matter, they were using the same attack against Bashar al-Assad.
    And I knew all along that the US government had exposed its own people to the damages of nuclear fallout. And it will never admit responsibility.

  3. It is not an accident that no one used nuclear weapons in almost eighty years after murder of hundreds of thousands civilians in militarily meaningless Hiroshima, Nagasaki by dropping nukes and .. Tokyo simply by conventionally incinerating people by peace loving and democracy bringing US.

    The shock of utter devastation seemingly made all Japanese not only anti nuclear war but anti war activists as the only policy of national survival.

    But was that genuine? did they really embedded pacifism and anti war imperative into their national psyche? Did they really rejected militarism?

    No, they did not as all victors and defeated nations did not either. However, all embedded in their psyche the reality that nukes are only working as deterrent, a threat and immediately lose their power to intimidate when used.

    And this was one of major reasons why nukes were not used in all those decades. Today the major reason why nukes won’t be used is that there is no ideological war going on.

    Worse that would happen if China and Russia won is not loss of nonexistent western democracy but more multipolar globalization and free trade however harmful for ordinary people that could be.

    Just observe western oligarchic elites and their attitude to recent nuclear warmongering by neocons in context of Ukrainian war. They ignore it completely. They are not afraid to lose, though they want to win this competition and escalate.

    They know for sure that if they lose they won’t be hanged by Xi or Putin but instead they would have to make more lucrative for eastern oligarchy deals. That is all.

    What they are really afraid of is being hanged by “we the people” not by their own oligarchic pals. Next time a nuke will de detonated it will be when global oligarchy starts to lose control over world population that would really ..want to hang them for their crimes.

    Japan instead of actively campaigning for abandoning nuclear technology thrusted itself for political reasons of US pressure of occupation force that still is in place in there, developed their own nuclear weapons technology (so Germany did) and over 100 NPPs, used as a stage in production of all nuclear weapons, solely for strategic reasons of Cold War.

    Japan by entering Cold War on western side effectively renounced their pacifism as national policy and instead their universal victimhood claims became tools for ideological war with Soviet Union. Their humanity driven sincerity of pacifism was simply self-obliterated.

    How one can interpret Japanese yearly lamenting about need for peace and cooperation when Japan today joined pack of western wolfs in attempt to strangle Russia, a nuclear power, by means of economic war that as Japanese historians know well led to WWII in Pacific.

    How one can interpret Japanese people repeatedly in last decades electing militarist governments that pay homage to war criminals and murderers with policies affine to that of Japanese Imperial government before and during WWII.

    How one then can condemn North Koreans for developing nukes and means of delivery when Japan that occupied Korea from 1905 to 1945 is actively rearming, trumping over their own pacifist constitutional order for political expediencies.

    It is utmost hypocrisy that prevents peace and peaceful coexistence and understanding among nations and unfortunately Japanese government and western governments are full of hypocrites.

  4. If you are not part of the 1%, you are expendable as is so aptly describe in Tolman’s book, The Devil’s Chessboard. CIA director Dulles even subjected his own family to experimental mind bending drugs and Olson’s death is no longer a secret. Country started off on the wrong path and has gleefully gone further and deeper than they will let us know until too late to act.

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