In his autobiography published in May, the 82-year-old pastor, Shouzo Munetou, of the United Church of Christ in Japan, writes that nuclear weapons are “a symbol of the devil that was produced by egoism, greed, pride, conceit, enmity, hatred.”
Munetou contracted leukemia after being affected by radiation from the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 in the closing days of the Second World War. This led to him questioning why he had survived and what life meant to him.
“The problem of nuclear weapons is not only a matter of weapons, science, and technology, but also a matter of human existence, values, way of life, and thoughts that do not fear God,” Munetou told ENInews.
The United States was to be represented this year, for the first time, at the commemoration of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos, is to attend the event, as well as diplomats from Britain and France.
It is believed that at least 150,000 people died as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima and the dropping of another atomic bomb three days later on the city of Nagasaki.
After surviving the bombing and the radiation, Munetou became a Christian and then resolved to train to be a pastor. He studied in Tokyo and San Francisco, where he wrote his master’s theses on the apostle Paul’s understanding of human sin, and on the relationship between Church and State in the writings of Karl Barth, a Swiss Protestant theologian.
“The beginning of my steps as a pastor for 50 years has been simply these two master’s theses, that is, the issue of human sin and forgiveness and what the social mission of one who has been forgiven is,” he writes in his book.
Munetou says the atomic bombing was “a result of a war of aggression and colonial rule in Asia by Japanese militarism, which cannot be talked about without a deep repentance as one who supported and cooperated with causing the war of aggression.”
He has been actively involved in peace movements and Christian actions to promote world peace, and has written several books on peace and Christianity.
Munetou said the world church “has an obligation and a responsibility to continue to say ‘No!’ without any ‘Yes’ to nuclear weapons that are against humanity and the absolute evil that plunges humanity into ruin and is incompatible with Christian faith.”