World, Asia - Pacific

Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor dies at 96

Sunao Tsuboi was leading figure in movement against use of nuclear arms

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 27.10.2021
Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor dies at 96


A 96-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and a leading Japanese figure in the movement against the use of nuclear arms has died, his family said Wednesday.

Sunao Tsuboi survived the US bombing of Hiroshima, one of the two cities bombed by the American jets in World War II.

He died on Sunday in his native province due to a heart disease caused by anemia, the family said in a statement to Tokyo-based Kyodo News.

Tsuboi, then 20, was exposed to the atomic bomb blast when he was on his way to school as a student at the precursor to Hiroshima University.

Born on May 5, 1925, in Ondo town of Hiroshima, he had suffered severe burns while 1.2 kilometers (0.7 miles) away from ground zero of the bombing.

The US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima – the site of the world's first atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945 – and Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II which resulted in the deaths of at least 140,000 people by the end of that year.

Nagasaki was bombed three days later.

The 1945 bombs contained enriched uranium and had a blast yield of 13 kilotons of TNT.

Tsuboi served as chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations.

He met former US President Barack Obama during his visit to the western Japanese city in 2016, drawing international attention towards nuclear disarmament. It was also the first time that a sitting US president visited the site of the atomic bombing.

The deceased worked as a junior high teacher before fully diverting his time to anti-nuclear activism during which he traveled to many countries, including nuclear-weapon states: the US, India, and Pakistan.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid tributes to the veteran anti-nukes activist.

“Mr. Tsuboi offered help on different occasions in our goal of realizing a world without nuclear weapons, and we exchanged ideas, and he participated when then-US President Obama visited Hiroshima,” said Kishida, who himself represents an electoral constituency in Hiroshima province.

The incumbent premier was a foreign minister when Obama visited Hiroshima.

“I am determined to move forward by engraving in my memory Mr. Tsuboi's thoughts,” he said on Twitter.

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