Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Suechi Kido, an 82-year-old survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, speaks during the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna on June 20, 2022.

Suechi Kido, an 82-year-old survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, speaks during the 2022 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna on June 20, 2022. (Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images)

Nagasaki Survivor Denounces 'Absolute Evil' of Nuclear Bombs on Eve of Vienna Summit

"The atomic bomb is a weapon of inhumanity and of absolute evil, with which human beings cannot exist," said 82-year-old Sueichi Kido.

Kenny Stancil

A survivor of the August 9, 1945 bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki by the United States conveyed the inhumanity of atomic weapons on Monday ahead of an international meeting that seeks to eliminate the world's growing nuclear arsenal.

"We have continued to appeal to the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons and for a world without war."

"The atomic bomb is a weapon of inhumanity and of absolute evil, with which human beings cannot exist and which does not allow us to even live or die as human beings," said Sueichi Kido, 82, after describing what happened when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on his city just three days after it had already annihilated Hiroshima.

The U.S. remains the only country to have deployed a nuclear weapon against a civilian population during wartime.

Survivors' pain and post-traumatic stress is "not something that fades away, but something which continues through their lives," Kido, secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations, said through an interpreter at the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

The one-day conference, hosted by the Austrian government, precedes a three-day summit in Vienna—the first Meeting of States Parties to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) since the United Nations pact came into force last January.

The world's nine nuclear-armed states, including the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members—Russia, the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom—as well as Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea, have refused to support the TPNW and won't take part in this week's historic gathering.

Despite being the only nation to experience the catastrophic destruction wrought by a nuclear attack, Japan has also not signed the treaty. Furthermore, Kyodo News reported Monday that Tokyo officials have decided not to participate in this week's summit, even as observers.

While the Japanese government will not be there, a large number of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors are expected to attend.

Suzuka Nakamura, a 22-year-old university student whose grandmother was exposed to radioactive waste from the bomb in Nagasaki, also spoke at Monday's conference as part of Japan's delegation.

It is "up to us," she said, "to remember the horror of the atomic bombings and to prevent repetition of the same mistakes in the future."

Referring to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Nakamura noted that "now people of Ukraine and the world are horrified by Russian President [Vladimir] Putin's threat to use nuclear weapons in the current war."

Kido, for his part, said that "we have continued to appeal to the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons and for a world without war."

"The treaty embodies this very aspiration," he continued, adding that he hopes the upcoming meeting of signatories to the TPNW—which seeks to outlaw the development, possession, testing, and use of nuclear weapons—is successful.

Sofia Wolman, campaign manager of the Nuclear Ban Treaty Collaborative, explained in a recent statement that "countries that join the TPNW are legally obligated to provide victim assistance to affected communities."

"For the U.S., ratification would mean finally acknowledging the people exposed to the first nuclear weapon ever used, and their descendants," said Wolman, alluding to the thousands of victims of the Trinity Test conducted in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, described how that explosion "produced more heat than the sun, and caused radioactive ash to fall for days—covering and contaminating crops, homes, bodies, and water supplies."

"We were innocent children, women, and men who were left to deal with the horrid consequences of being overexposed to radioactive fallout," said Cordova. "Our families suffer from cancer, radiation-related illnesses, and early death."

"The people of New Mexico have been waiting over 77 years," Cordova continued. "We have never been acknowledged although we were the original downwinders, the first people to be exposed to a nuclear bomb and nuclear fallout anyplace in the world."

"We have been casualties of the U.S. government's quest for nuclear superiority," she added. "There is so much more to the history than what the U.S. government has been willing to share, and we were the human sacrifice."

Mary Dickson, another American downwinder who is attending this week's events in Vienna, described herself in a recent Common Dreams essay as "a casualty of the Cold War, a survivor of nuclear weapons testing."

"Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah during the Cold War I was repeatedly exposed to dangerous levels of radioactive fallout from hundreds of detonations at the Nevada Test Site just 65 miles west of Las Vegas," she wrote. "A government that knowingly harms its own citizens must be held accountable. Our lives are worth more than civilization-ending weapons. It's a simple matter of priorities and justice."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·

'Morally Bankrupt' G7 Slammed for 'Caving' to Fossil Fuel Lobby on Climate

"People in poverty around the world will pay the highest price for this backtrack by some of the wealthiest countries," one activist warned of the group's new statement on gas investments.

Jessica Corbett ·

Police Brutality on Display as Protesters Rail Against Post-Roe World

"Both the Dobbs decision and state repression of protest against it violate human rights," said the president of the National Lawyers Guild.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Yeah, And?': Ocasio-Cortez Embraces GOP Freakout Over Helping Women Skirt Abortion Bans

"Republicans are mad because I am sharing this information," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. "Too bad!"

Julia Conley ·

WATCH LIVE: Top Meadows Aide Cassidy Hutchinson Testifies at Surprise Jan. 6 Hearing

Hutchinson, who has spent more than 20 hours in deposition with the House panel, is expected to provide more damning evidence of the role that Meadows played in Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo