Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima
The Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikin) organizes international conferences every year in August around the dates when the atomic bombs were dropped in 1945. In 2013, the conference opened in Fukushima on July 28, followed by conferences held in Hiroshima on August 4–6 and in Nagasaki on August 7–9. The Fukushima conference has been organized since 2011, the year when the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident occurred.
The opening plenary meeting in Hiroshima started with a silent prayer for the many lives lost due to nuclear technology, including atomic bombs and nuclear power stations. When an atomic bomb survivor started to talk about her experience of an atomic bomb attack, the audience became silent. Many participants seemed to be concentrating hard on what she was saying, as if trying not to miss even one word of her testimony. The following is a brief summary of Yoshiko Yanagawa’s talk on her experience of an A-bomb attack:
“It was when I was a student. I was in the school building when the atomic bomb exploded. The blast of the bomb caused the building to collapse, and I was immediately buried in darkness under the wreckage of the building. In the dark world where no light could be seen, I felt pain all around my body. I could not move. I was alone. I thought I might die. When I was thinking this, I noticed a glimmer overhead. I struggled hard toward the faint light. I finally succeeded in getting out of the darkness, finding that my arm was dangling from my torso, with the bone broken. I walked desperately and finally arrived at my relatives’ house. I then slept for a few days, as if I were dead. There were insufficient medical facilities, and no medicines were available. All they could do for me was just put on bandages, apply a mixture of ash and oil, and have me lie down.”
The keynote speech declared that nuclear technology and humankind cannot live together, and criticized the Japanese government for refusing to sign the anti-nuclear statement at the United Nations General Assembly on October 22, 2012. The statement includes the sentence, “All States must intensify their efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.” The conference also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is attempting to export Japanese nuclear technology despite the fact that the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident has not yet been resolved.
A session of the Nagasaki Conference entitled “Japan’s mass abduction and the victims of radiation exposure” emphasized that atomic bomb victims are not limited to Japanese people. When the bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there were also Koreans and Chinese who had been forcibly relocated to Japan living in those cities. Among the many hibakusha victims resulting from the bombings, Japanese nationals have been generously compensated while foreign nationals have not. Korean hibakusha victims also presented testimonies at the conference.
The international conferences of the Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs are gatherings of those who are fighting to abolish atomic and hydrogen bombs around the country. They provide forums for people to share the latest news and problems, and refresh and strengthen mutual ties. Members of the general public are also free to participate in the conferences. A wide variety of learning sessions are held on nuclear issues, as well as excursions visiting areas contaminated by the nuclear plant disaster or sites where nuclear power plants are planned. For more information, please visit the website of the Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (www.gensuikin.org/ – in Japanese).
(Nobuko TANIMURA, CNIC)