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5 years on: A-bomb survivor gained influence after hug with Obama

Tokyo, May 26 (Jiji Press)–Shigeaki Mori, who survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, said that a hug from former U.S. President Barack Obama five years ago gave him extra leverage to call for peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons.


Obama traveled to Hiroshima on May 27, 2016, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the atomic-bombed western Japan city. After giving a speech at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama gave Mori a hug.


“My life was changed by the atomic bombing and Obama’s visit,” Mori, 84, said.


While working as a corporate employee, Mori spent some 40 years researching U.S. prisoners of war who died due to the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing.


Obama mentioned Mori’s efforts during his speech. The scene of the two hugging spread across the world.


“No one took me seriously” before Obama’s visit but “I started receiving many offers for speeches” after the hug, Mori said. He once gave a speech at the U.N. headquarters in New York.


Mori said he believes that “the abolition of nuclear weapons can be realized for sure if each and every one of us across the world make a resolve and work together.”


Using his expanded opportunities after Obama’s hug, “I’ll do my best to tell people how important peace and nuclear abolition are,” Mori said.

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