The following is a translation of the Pledge for Peace delivered by atomic bomb survivor representative Takashi Miyata on the 77th anniversary of the Aug. 9, 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the many victims in Ukraine. Such a merciless, indiscriminate attack reminds me of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki 77 years ago that caused the suffering of many innocent people. It is something that absolutely cannot be condoned.
On Feb. 24 of this year, the air-raid sirens that rang out in Ukraine inspired the same fear of that pikadon ("atomic bomb") in me. On August 9, 77 years ago, I was in our home 2.4 kilometers from the hypocenter. When the atomic bomb was dropped, my small, 5-year-old body was thrown back from our eight-tatami-mat room to the front entrance of our house by the blast and I woke up in my mother's arms. I still remember her heartbeat.
That night a nurse came across the mountain to our house for shelter. Her hair was blown back and her left eye was hanging out. She died right in front of us as she begged for water. My father went to Matsuyama-machi, the hypocenter, to help victims of the bombing. There, he found the charred bodies of my uncle and his wife. My father died of leukemia five years later.
I am now 82 years old. My cancer, of which I began to show symptoms 10 years ago, is getting worse and causes me great distress every day. However, many of the hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) are living every day contending with suffering greater than I.
I call to all attending members of the National Diet as well as members of prefectural and municipal councils: Meet with the hibakusha, listen to how they have suffered, learn the truth of the atomic bombing, and relay what you learn to the world. In June, I participated in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Vienna. At the venue and on the street, I wore a vest on which I wrote "HIBAKUSHA" and called out: "Please visit Nagasaki. To see is to believe. No more Nagasaki. Stop the violence in Ukraine!"
It is now 77 years after World War II and Russia has implied that they would use nuclear weapons, exposing the world to the threat of nuclear war. Some members of Japan's Diet are proponents of nuclear sharing, a concept which is antithetical to the hibakusha's wishes to cease reliance on a nuclear umbrella. Nuclear sharing is a dated way of thinking that relies on nuclear weapons, one that is founded in the principle of "fight fire with fire." It is a concept that we are wholly against. Nuclear weapons are not a deterrent. It is at this moment that Japan should reconsider the importance it places on the nuclear umbrella and rather devote itself to becoming a nation of peace.
In order to do so, Japan should learn from its history, declare a Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone, and strictly adhere to Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan. The people of Japan's strong commitment to never wage war again and to renounce war as a nation, out of respect for the more than 3 million people that died during World War II and the 200,000 victims of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, has undoubtedly protected Japanese lives since the war. Peaceful diplomacy through dialogue is a task that we must tackle in the new age. I am particularly looking forward to seeing how Prime Minister Kishida will take the lead in this regard, as a representative of an atomic bombing site.
Japan must sign and ratify the TPNW. Entering into force last year, the TPNW is a priceless treasure shared by humanity and the hibakusha. It is the duty of the government of Japan, the only nation in the world to have suffered atomic bombings, and every one of its people to adhere to this treaty and act accordingly to it. The observer nations to the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW expressed that they have high hopes for the Treaty, which has given me courage.
The hibakusha have lived these 77 years overcoming grief and pain. We will continue to persevere and cooperate together with global civil society, believing in a bright, hopeful, nuclear weapons-free future. In this new age brought about by the TPNW, we vow to commit ourselves to passing on our wishes for the realization of a nuclear weapons-free world to our children and our children's children.
Atomic Bomb Survivor Representative
Aug. 9, 2022