The dropping of the atomic bomb turned Hiroshima into hell in 1945. Kunihito Linda will never forget. The 80-year-old remembers that morning on August 6, 1945, when the American bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Amid charred corpses, people who were not killed immediately, lived through hell. “When you lowered your hands, they would stick to the abdomen, they would become a mass” Kunihido Linda describes a terrifying scene. “The next day, most of them were already dead,” he says.

At the summit of the seven most economically powerful nations in Hiroshima, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joe Biden and other heads of state and government will commemorate the hundreds of thousands of people who were killed. They will lay wreaths at the memorial of the victims and take the traditional “family photo” there. The war in Ukraine, however, makes the debate on the non-use of nuclear weapons more relevant today than ever.

The war in Ukraine “creates” fears

Miraculously, Linda, three years old at the time, was saved and pulled out of the wreckage. “I never got over the trauma of being buried alive. I am over 80 years old,” he told the German News Agency. His parents died and his grandmother kept him alive on sweet potatoes and snails. Then she died too and Linda was left an orphan. The Japanese never get tired of telling future generations about the horrors of that time so that there will never be another war. Today, however, because of the war in Ukraine, he fears that it may happen again and the horror of a firecracker bombardment may be repeated. Linda has a request to make to the politicians attending the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

“First of all, I would like them to see the real tragedy of the dropping of the atomic bomb and then decide on a course aimed at building peace,” he says. “If they see the real tragedy of dropping the atomic bomb, they will understand that there is no peace without the abolition of nuclear weapons because today’s atomic bombs are ten times more destructive,” he emphasizes.

The effects of the bombing continue to exist

The survivors are dwindling and believe they should leave the battle to abolish nuclear weapons to the next generation. Japanese Miho Tanaka represents a small group of young people fighting for a nuclear-free world. Unfortunately, young people in Japan don’t really think about the nuclear issue, he says. “They don’t feel that it has anything to do with their situation, with their problems,” he adds.

Many Hiroshima residents are more concerned about restrictions on their daily lives during the G7 summit, such as barricades, than the issues of the summit itself, says journalist and anti-nuclear activist Sonoko Miyazaki, whose grandparents and grandmothers were victims of the atomic bombing in 1945.

For the now 80-year-old Linda, the horror is not over yet. He continues to suffer the physical and psychological effects of the nuclear bombing. In 2017, he underwent the first operation for a brain tumor. “But I have three more brain tumors,” he says and lowers his gaze.