The atomic bombing survivor who met world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May said on Thursday their visit to the city's peace museum had been a "significant first step" toward abolishing nuclear weapons even though survivors and activists remain divided over the event's achievements.

Keiko Ogura, 85, made the remarks during a remote press conference for the Foreign Press Center Japan. An English speaker, she was the only survivor to meet the leaders of G-7, including nuclear-possessing France, Britain and the United States, when they visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on the summit's first day.

"In a sense it was a small step toward nuclear abolition, but many atomic bomb survivors feel there should be further statements toward that goal," she said.

But she added that "knowing is the first step to peace," and the fact that "the leaders of the G-7 and invited nations came to Hiroshima, visited the museum and spoke with me was a remarkable, significant first step."

Keiko Ogura, an 85-year-old survivor of the August 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, meets the press in Hiroshima after holding brief talks with the Group of Seven leaders during their visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on May 19, 2023, on the first day of the three-day summit in the western Japan city. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The summit was billed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as a chance to proclaim a vision for a "world without nuclear weapons" from the world's first atomic-bombed city, where his parliamentary constituency is located.

However, a number of survivor groups and anti-nuclear activists have been critical of the "Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament" communique's backing of nonproliferation principles.

Among the local groups to voice their opposition, the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition on July 6 petitioned the city government to include a passage saying it cannot accept the leaders' communique in this year's Peace Declaration.

The declaration is traditionally read aloud by the mayor at the ceremony held each year on Aug. 6 to mark the anniversary of the city's bombing.

While details of Ogura's exchanges with the leaders during their roughly 40-minute visit at the museum remains undisclosed, she has said she conveyed her experiences to them as well as the story of Sadako Sasaki, who died aged 12 of leukemia, 10 years after she was exposed to the bombing.

Sadako's attempt to fold a thousand paper cranes to grant her wish to be cured has made the cranes a symbol of peace.

Ogura was 8 when the bomb fell on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and was near her home about 2.4 kilometers from the blast. A prominent survivor, she founded Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace in 1984 and has given talks on her experiences in Japan and abroad including in the United States.

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