Oct. 27 (UPI) — Sunao Tsuboi, a survivor of the U.S. atomic bombing on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II who became a lifelong activist opposed to nuclear weapons, died this week at age 96.
Tsuboi was 20 years old when the U.S. bomb fell onto his city on Aug. 6, 1945. It was the first of two atomic bombs that the United States dropped on the country, which accelerated the surrender of Japan and the end of the war.
Tsuboi was seriously burned by the bomb, lost part of one ear and spent more than a month unconscious in the hospital. When he awoke, World War II was over and he campaigned for the rest of his life against the nuclear threat.
In 2016, he met U.S. President Barack Obama during an event in Hiroshima marking the atomic attack and later praised the American leader for the visit, which occurred during a Group of Seven summit in Japan.
“I held his hand, and we didn’t need an interpreter,” Tsuboi said after meeting Obama. “I could understand what he wanted to say by his expression.”
Tsuboi became a teacher and continued to share his experience for decades. After retiring, he visited nearly two dozen countries to share his story.