Tell the world that that the use or threat of nuclear weapons can never be condoned - a message from Setsuko Thurlow to Japanese Prime Minister Kishida

Mar 8, 2022

On March 7, Hiroshima survivor residing in Toronto, Setsuko Thurlow, sent a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, uring him to send a strong message to the world that "the use or threat of nuclear weapons can never be condoned." This letter was sent in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's ongoing military invasion of Ukraine, in which he has even suggested the use of nuclear weapons.

Ms Thurlow writes, "As someone who experienced first-hand the horrors of the atomic bomb dropped by the United States in August 1945, such a nuclear threat is something I cannot accept."

Reflecting that in the urgency of the current situation some Japanese parliament members have been suggesting the need for a discussion on the possibility of sharing nuclear weapons with the United States, in the letter Ms Thurlow writes that she is "very surprised and perplexed." Nuclear sharing would mean "Japan joining nuclear weapons operations by the US", which is unacceptable for Japan as the A-bombed nation. At the same time, she commended Prime Minister Kishida for clearly rejecting nuclear sharing from the standpoint of upholding Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles. "It is Japan’s role to convey to the world the horrific, inhumane consequences that would ensue if nuclear weapons were used. There should be no choice for Japan to join those potentially using such weapons."

Ms Thurlow also calls for progress in discussions toward a nuclear weapon free zone in East Asia as a way to "build security which does not rely upon nuclear weapons," for Japan to attend the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to be held later in 2022, and to state clearly "that Japan will lead the world in realizing the goals of the Treaty."

Peace Boat is honoured to work closely with Setsuko Thurlow as part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). She has travelled onboard Peace Boat on many occasions to share her appeal for a nuclear free world, including on the first 'Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project.'

Read the letter (English translation) in full here (PDF).

Access this article and original letter in Japanese here.