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Hibakusha abroad calls for U.S. consistency on elimination of nuclear weapons

Setsuko Thurlow is pictured in this photo taken in Santa Barbara, California. (Mainichi)

LOS ANGELES -- A Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor who lives in Canada has urged the United States to keep consistency between its words and deeds over nuclear disarmament.

In a telephone interview with the Mainichi Shimbun during her visit to London on May 10, Setsuko Thurlow, 84, said, "President Barack Obama needed courage to make up his mind to visit Hiroshima, and I'm moved by his decision."

She then pointed out that the United States has failed to keep consistency between its words and deeds over nuclear abolition.

The United States failed to dispatch a representative to the second meeting of a U.N. working group on nuclear disarmament in Geneva on May 4, in which Thurlow spoke about her experience in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at the age of 13 and called for nuclear abolition.

Although Obama declared in a speech in Prague in 2009 that the United States will pursue a world without nuclear weapons, Thurlow said progress has not been made to that end as expected.

"Even though the president said the United States, as the only country that has used nuclear weapons, should take action toward nuclear abolition, the country failed to attend a meeting on nuclear disarmament," she said. "The United States lacks consistency between its words and deeds. The country has failed to take appropriate action."

Moreover, Thurlow feels that the U.S. plan to spend $1 trillion, or approximately 110 trillion yen, over the next three decades to modernize its nuclear arms and their delivery vehicles runs counter to Obama's declaration.

"It's obvious that the United States fails to keep in step toward nuclear abolition. I'd like to strongly point out that the country is taking action contrary to its goal," said Thurlow.

"I'd like the United States to understand how hibakusha have felt over the past 70 years," she said.

Thurlow, who has spoken about her A-bomb experience in English at international conferences and on other occasions, intends to write a letter to President Obama, describing the experience and her hopes for nuclear disarmament.

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