Anti-nuke groups condemn Putin’s nuclear threat

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japanese Hibakusha atomic bomb survivors and anti-nuclear arms groups raised voices Monday against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to place Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert in the midst of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Atomic weapons are arms of the devil and will lead humankind to destruction,” said Shigemitsu Tanaka, 81, cochair of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, or Nihon Hidankyo, and head of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council.

“[Nuclear weapons] should never be used,” Tanaka stressed.

Born to a hibakusha family and now head of a high school peace ambassador project, Nobuto Hirano, 75, said, “It was outrageous remark [by Putin] that went against the global trend of not using nuclear weapons.”

“We must prevent nuclear weapons from being used,” said Kunihiko Sakuma, 77, who heads a major hibakusha organization in Hiroshima Prefecture.

“I wonder how [Putin] thinks of what happened in Hiroshima,” he went on to say.

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the western Japan city on Aug. 6, 1945 and another on Nagasaki three days later. The two bombs are estimated to have killed more than 210,000 people.

“It’s wrong to threaten others with nuclear weapons and such an act violates the U.N. Charter,” Sakuma said.

“If nuclear weapons are used, the damage will not be limited to Ukraine,” he stressed.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, said in a statement released Sunday that it “strongly condemns Putin’s order” to get Russian nuclear arsenal ready for combat.