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A-bomb survivors dismayed at Trump's new nuke policy

The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, left, and the Peace Statue in Nagasaki. (Mainichi)

Survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki expressed disappointment over a major shift in the United States' nuclear policy unveiled by the administration of President Donald Trump in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, voicing concerns that the new strategy could deal a setback to the global momentum toward nuclear abolition.

Sueichi Kido, 78, secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), condemned the policy shift, saying, "It's a major turnaround from the policy mapped out by the former administration of then President Barack Obama in 2010. The move squarely runs counter to the clear momentum toward 'a world without nuclear weapons,' such as the adoption last year of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and is extremely frightening."

Kido, who was exposed to the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, at age 5, added that the new U.S. strategy of enhancing low-yield nuclear warheads "raises the danger of making it easier to push the nuclear button first.

"We must raise our voices further and call for making Nagasaki the last atomic-bombed city, so there will be no more use of nuclear weapons, or any more hibakusha (A-bomb survivors)," he said.

Another A-bomb survivor, 81-year-old Emiko Okada, blasted the U.S. policy change by stating, "Although President Trump has kept threatening to boost nuclear capabilities, I thought that was a mere performance. The United States is moving in a direction that is completely opposite to the one sought by former President Obama, who advocated 'a world without nuclear weapons.'"

Okada, who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, at age 8, continued, "I'm absolutely against the new policy, which casts a damper on the momentum toward nuclear abolition, such as Mr. Obama's visit to Hiroshima and the adoption of the U.N. nuclear weapons ban treaty."

She also spurred fellow hibakusha, as well as members of the general public, to be more aware of the current state of affairs, saying, "Citizens should also have a sense of crisis, instead of taking the situation as someone else's business. We hibakusha also need to continue testifying our bombing experiences so nuclear weapons will never be used again."

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