First Minister of Scotland to meet Hiroshima survivors as UN nuke ban talks commence

Nathanael Williams

Survivors of nuclear horror will come to Scotland in solidarity to spread word of peace during world negotiations

TWO SURVIVORS of Hiroshima, the Japanese city which was bombed by the US with an atomic weapon, will meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon next Wednesday 29th March at 2.30 pm during the third day of a critical set of UN negotiations for a nuclear ban treaty.

The visit, by Reiko Yamada and Midori Yamada, is part of the much anticipated Hibakusha tour which aims to spread the message about the calamitous dangers of nuclear weapons and their proliferation.

Additionally, the guests will travel to Faslane and Coulport to observe the two nuclear bases and Faslane Peace Camp to meet anti-nuclear peace campaigners on Thursday (30th March).

Meet Reiko Yamada, Hiroshima survivor and international campaigner 

Scottish CND’s Chair Arthur West said: “We are honoured to welcome Reiko and Midori to Scotland. Over the years we have tended to forget how utterly horrific nuclear weapons are and we are sure their visit will help us all to re-connect with that sober reality. But this is also a time of great hope as the UN ban negotiations begin – the biggest breakthrough for disarmament in decades, though it is a huge concern that the Scottish rejection of nuclear weapons will not be formally represented in New York.”

Born in Hiroshima in 1934, Reiko was ten when the US bomb destroyed her hometown. Midori was born four years after the blast which brought the second world war to an end in the Pacific but she has campaigned against nuclear weapons all her life. Both share a common fear among second–generation Japanese survivors of ongoing genetic damage and long term illness from the radiation of the bombs.

The UN talks for a new ban treaty will begin on March 27 but the UK has already decided to boycott the multilateral talks. However, Scotland will be represented by a range of civil society groups which will include Bill Kidd SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland.

Arguments in the US still rage over the use of the bombs on Japan. Advocates state that using nuclear weapons on Japan saved hundreds of thousands of lives as the Japanese armed forces were not prepared to yield. Critics point to conversations inside the Japanese armed forces at the time which showed surrender was been considered and the horrifying cost paid by innocent Japanese civilians after the destination.

There has been great difficulty in estimating the total casualties in the Japanese cities as a result of the atomic bombing. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, according to conservative estimates, the acute effects of the atomic bombings killed 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. 60 per cent of those that died did so of extreme burns.

At present, the US administration of Donald Trump has signalled its intent to ramp up tensions with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its claims that the Gulf nation is trying to acquire nuclear weapons and threaten Israel. Last year, the administration of President Obama signed a multilateral agreement with China, Russia and EU states to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for the nation ceasing military nuclear research and development. 

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