"Thinking about Peace"
Experience Counts
by Sunao Tsuboi
   Chairperson of the Board, Hiroshima Prefecture Confederation
   of Atomic Bomb Sufferers Organizations

Atomic Bombing Experience
On August 6, around 67 years ago, I experienced the atomic bombing as a 20-year-old student on the street near the city hall, approximately one kilometer from the epicenter.
 Feeling a piercing silver-white flash of light, I was thrown about ten meters and passed out. After a while I regained consciousness. My clothes were half burned, and I had burns all over my face and my entire body. My earlobes were hanging off in shreds and my lips had swelled up. Trying to put out the fire on my clothes, and semi-naked, I continued to wander around the streets of the city that had been transformed into a sea of fire, with no idea where to flee.
 The atomic bomb brought me to the brink of death, and I have absolutely no recollection of the war ending. It was not until summer in the following year that I was able to get up from my hospital bed and somehow manage to walk weakly. After that I was hospitalized twelve times and fell into a critical condition three times, but I managed to escape death.
 I currently suffer from chronic aplastic anemia, have experienced cancer twice, and am also threatened with angina. As a result I need to receive an intravenous drip once every two weeks. And the emotional anxiety and pain is not limited just to me. I cannot help but worry about the effects on my children and grandchildren. I feel the deepest indignation at the destruction that the atomic bomb inflicted on peoples' bodies, emotions and livelihoods.
Nuclear weapon abolition activities
As one of the survivors of the atomic bombing, I continue with efforts to achieve our earnest wish to abolish nuclear weapons, using as a base my atomic bombing experience.
 Despite my old age, I force myself to go to elementary, junior and senior high schools to give talks on my atomic bombing experience, to spread information on the reality of the damage from the bomb. I also continue to call for peace by participating in peace rallies held all over Japan.
 In terms of overseas peace activities, I have visited various countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South East and North East Asia (including North Korea), and America. I have been to America eight times.
 At the NPT Review Conference in May 2010, I travelled to America as part of a group of fifty atomic bomb survivors. We participated in Atomic Bombing Exhibitions and survivors' testimonial activities held by the United Nations, and appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the creation of a world free of war.
 In March 2011 I went to Beijing to participate in peace exchange activities conducted with the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament. This was my twenty-first overseas exchange session, and I am proud to say that it was meaningful.
 I learned of the Great East Japan Earthquake when I was in Beijing. I felt surprise, nervousness, and emotional pain at natural and man-made disasters. I felt particular anxiety about the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
 To use nuclear power for peaceful purposes, naturally the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) needs to be strengthened. But in addition, I strongly feel that the world needs to think deeply about shifting from material affluence to spiritual affluence. The international community should look for a path that is not reliant on nuclear power.
 It is pleasing to see that the forum for discussions on measures to resolve nuclear issues is starting to move from dialogue between America and Russia alone to discussions among the various bodies of the United Nations.
Discussion with Hiroshima Mayor Matsui (front
right) on the Fukushima nuclear issue (June 30, 2011)
My determination
We atomic bomb survivors are getting older and growing weaker from illness. However, we have gone beyond feelings of bitterness or hatred or revenge. We are resolutely walking the path of appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the urgent and crucial issue that must be resolved for the happiness of humankind and peace in the world.
 Humans are not stupid. If all tribes and races, beyond national borders, can collect as "humans", forge an harmonious political and economic framework, find hope in education and religion, and build a dignified culture, true peace will be guaranteed.
 It is not possible to avoid war with emotional dialogue. The promise of peace will come through dialogue that is conducted with reason and wisdom.
 I intend to continue these efforts with my colleagues until the day comes when I can see for myself that the last nuclear weapon has been abolished.
 Whatever happens, at whatever time, we will never give up.
Never give up!

Profile: Sunao Tsuboi
Born 1925. Experienced the atomic bombing as a twenty-year-old student of the former Hiroshima Prefecture Engineering Technical College (currently the Engineering Faculty of Hiroshima University). Formerly a teacher, after retiring as principal of Hiroshima Municipal Jonan Junior High School in 1986, he joined the atomic bomb survivors' movement, appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons and world peace by giving atomic bombing testimonies in Japan and overseas.
Representative member of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, Chairperson of the Board of Hiroshima Prefecture Confederation of Atomic Bomb Sufferers Organizations, and a Councilor of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Awarded the Kiyoshi Tanimoto Peace Prize in 2011.
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