Nagasaki survivor continues nuclear disarmament fight

Terumi Tanaka was a 13-year-old junior high student reading a book at his home in Nagasaki when a US warplane dropped a plutonium bomb on the southern Japanese city.

On August 8th 1945, he remembers a large sound. Then everything went white.

"I felt this was something terrible, so I ran downstairs and ducked. I covered my ears and closed my eyes. And the moment I ducked down, I lost consciousness."

Miraculously he was unharmed, as were his mother and two sisters.

Tanaka says it wasn't until three days later he realized the scale of the devastation.

He lost an aunt, uncle and his grandfather as a result of the blast which killed 27,000 instantly and 70,000 by the year's end.

But it wasn't until the end of the US occupation of Japan that he began to take an interest in anti-nuclear activism - to pass on his experience so nuclear attacks are not repeated.

"I always thought it was normal for soldiers to die in war but that damage should not hae happened. Civilians shouldn't have been killed so brutally."

For decades now Tanaka has been actively involved in spreading a message of peace by recounting the horrors of the atomic bomb.

In this 75th year since the war ended, he says he'll continue to share his experiences and keep pushing for nuclear disarmament as long as he can.

Video Transcript

- Terumi Tanaka was a 13-year-old junior high student reading a book at his home in Nagasaki when a US warplane dropped a plutonium bomb on the southern Japanese city.

[EXPLOSION]

On August 8th, 1945, he remembers a large sound. Then everything went white.

INTERPRETER: I felt this was something terrible, so I ran downstairs and ducked. I covered my ears and closed my eyes. And the moment I ducked down, I lost consciousness.

- Miraculously, he was unharmed, as were his mother and two sisters. Tanaka says it wasn't until three days later he realized the scale of the devastation. He lost an aunt, uncle, and his grandfather as a result of the blast, which killed 27,000 instantly and 70,000 by the year's end. But it wasn't until the end of the US occupation of Japan that he began to take an interest in anti-nuclear activism to pass on his experience so nuclear attacks are not repeated.

TERUMI TANAKA: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]

INTERPRETER: I always thought that it was normal for soldiers to die in war, but that damage should not have happened. Civilians shouldn't have been killed so brutally.

- For decades now, Tanaka has been actively involved in spreading a message of peace by recounting the horrors of the atomic bomb. In this 75th year since the war ended, he says he'll continue to share his experiences and keep pushing for nuclear disarmament as long as he can.