This year's Nobel Peace Prize is not only for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons but also for the survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, known as hibakusha in Japanese, ICAN chief Beatrice Fihn said Friday.
"This is their prize as well," the executive director of ICAN told Kyodo News in an interview. "Hibakusha have been part of this campaign from the beginning and they are the ones who brought the humanitarian consequences message already in 1945."
"I really hope that they take this award, I mean some of them are members of ICAN, but all of them take this award as an award to them as well," she said.
Awarding the peace prize Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee warned the world about the growing risks of nuclear weapons amid escalating threats from North Korea.
The award to the Geneva-based nongovernmental organization follows the adoption in July of a landmark U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. ICAN led efforts in campaigning for the treaty, working with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
Fihn said the award to ICAN will be an encouragement to Japan, which did not join the negotiations on the treaty, to sign it, adding she hopes Tokyo's stance on the pact will be a major issue in the upcoming general election in the country.
"I hope we can make this an election issue -- which way Japan is going to choose," she said. "Are you going to be in favor of nuclear weapons or against it? Japan has to choose at some point."
Fihn also raised doubts about whether Japan feels safe under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, saying that relying on nuclear deterrence "makes you a target as well."
Furthermore, she lauded Hiroshima bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow for having been "a great spokesperson" who contributed to the cause of ICAN in recent years.
"She shared her stories so many times. She is one of the bravest people I know, who travels around the world and continues to work for this," the ICAN head said of the 85-year-old Canada-based advocate of nuclear nonproliferation.