NAGASAKI Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor Shigemitsu Tanaka, 82, confirmed his belief in the importance of speaking openly about his experience with the bombing thanks to a letter from the foreign minister of Germany.
As Russia proceeds with its war of aggression against Ukraine, your pleas for peace have an increased significance, according to a letter written in German. In July, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, 41, visited the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in southwest Japan. She heard about the Aug. 9, 1945 atomic bombing, as told by Tanaka, who is chairman of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council.
Even now back in my country, what I saw and heard in Nagasaki, and what I spoke with you is engraved in my mind. I was shocked by the displays, but my heart was moved by the talks of A-bomb survivors who had experienced that day. In her letter to Tanaka, Baerbock wrote. He received a letter from a minister of a country for the first time.
A 4 year old Tanaka was in the Nagasaki Prefecture village now town of Togitsu, about 6 kilometers north of the hypocenter, at the time of the atomic bombing. His father, an Imperial Japanese Navy unit member stationed in Sasebo, also in Nagasaki Prefecture, went to the bombed city where he engaged in rescue work and recovered dead bodies. He complained of fatigue and died of liver cancer 12 years later. His mother entered an area near the hypocenter to check on an acquaintance, and later developed liver and thyroid problems. In silence, Baerbock listened to such accounts.
Three weeks after the German minister's visit, Tanaka heard some unexpected news. In a speech she gave at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York, Baerbock had mentioned his accounts of the atomic bombing. She raised the need to reduce nuclear risks and said her commitment to this cause became even stronger after listening to the stories of hibakusha survivors in Nagasaki.
Her letter came to an end. She ended it, writing: We must fully grasp the significance of being able to hear such precious stories of survivors. To ensure that Nagasaki is the last site of an atomic bombing, it's my utmost wish that young people living today and future generations in particular will receive the feelings of survivors and pass them on. Tanaka has been working hard to share his experiences, including through some 20 lectures before students on school trips and others in September and October alone. Like Baerbock, he is aware that it is important to raise like-minded individuals in order to spread moves to abolish nuclear weapons in the global community. He said we can't rely on A-bomb survivors forever. He intends to keep sharing his story for as long as his body holds up. How can we create a country that won't be dragged into war? He believes that a continual search for answers to these questions will open the door to nuclear abolition.