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Hibakusha say they want to relate to President Obama their tragic stories

Three Japanese Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) on February 13 met with U.S. House of Representatives member Dennis Kucinich in Washington, D.C. and asked him to deliver a letter requesting U.S. President Barack Obama to meet with Hibakusha.

Iwasa Mikiso, assistant general secretary of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), joined by two other Hibakusha, Setsuko Thurlow who now lives in Canada and Michigami Akio from Aichi Prefecture, discussed Hibakusha's suffering and their wish to see all nuclear weapons abolished.

Hidankyo in its letter to the U.S. president stated that A-bomb sufferers are the first victims of the first nuclear attack in history, when atomic bombs were used just before the war's end, and that the organization has been calling for nuclear weapons to be urgently abolished so that there should never be another Hibakusha.

Iwasa said to the Congressman that Hibakusha want to directly tell the president of their experience.

Kucinich said that as a Congressman and also as a presidential candidate during the presidential primary election last year, he had called for nuclear weapons to be abolished, not just calling for non-proliferation. He said that Hibakusha's meeting with the president would help the president to get a deeper understanding as to how important the task of nuclear weapons abolition is. He said that he would see that the letter reach the president and confirm that they are received.

The Democratic Party at its National Convention in August 2008, in which Barack Obama was nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate, adopted a policy program clearly stating that the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons from the world should be the central task of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

U.S. President Obama in his inaugural address on January 20 pledged: 'We will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat."

The three Hibakusha attended a Hibakusha session of the second International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) held February 14-15 in Washington, D.C. Before the panel of experts from member governments, they spoke about what they experienced with the atomic bombings. Michigami said, 'If nuclear weapons are used in war, many victims will be non-combatant ordinary citizens."

- Akahata, February 15&16, 2009

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