Oslo — In Japan, the only country to suffer an atomic bombing in the closing days of World War II, this year's Nobel Peace Prize resonated with many.
Sunao Tsuboi, a 92-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, said he was overjoyed to hear of the Nobel Peace award going to those who were also working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
He said that "as long as I live, I hope to work toward a realization of a world without nuclear weapons with ICAN and many other people."
Tsuboi, whose ear is partly missing and his face blotched with burn marks, is co-chair of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organisations, or Hidankyo, and has devoted his life to the fight to eradicate nuclear weapons, stressing that the weapon is designed simply to kill.
The director of the anti-nuclear campaign that won this year's Nobel Peace Prize says that "it sends a message to all nuclear-armed states and all states that continue to rely on nuclear weapons for security that it is unacceptable behavior.
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, told reporters that "we can't threaten to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security. That's not how you build security."
Fihn said that the group has received a phone call minutes before the official announcement was made that ICAN had won the prize. But she thought it was "a prank" and she didn't believe it until heard the name of the group during the Peace Prize announcement in Oslo.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Geneva-based group "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."
The statement, read by committee chairperson Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."
Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said that "what will not have an impact is being passive."