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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 August 2 - 8  > Bikini H-bomb test victims urge Fisheries Minister to respond to their compensation demand
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2017 August 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Bikini H-bomb test victims urge Fisheries Minister to respond to their compensation demand

August 3, 2017
Former crewmembers of Japanese tuna fishing boats, who were exposed to radiation from the1954 U. S. H-bomb test explosion at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, met with Fisheries Minister Yamamoto Yuji in Kochi City on August 2, to demand that the government provide compensation to the victims.

Regarding this issue, a lawsuit filed by ten former seamen and their bereaved families against the state is pending in court.

Representing the ten plaintiffs, former fishing crew Kuwano Yutaka and Masumoto Kazuma together with Shimomoto Setsuko, a bereaved daughter, took part in the meeting. Yamashita Masatoshi of a civil organization in Kochi Prefecture supporting survivors of the U.S. nuclear tests also joined the meeting.

Masumoto said, “When the U.S. carried out the H-bomb test explosion, we had no warning from the Japanese government. We were showered with radiation-contaminated rain in Bikini waters, and ate polluted fish. The tuna that we caught were discarded at the Tsukiji market due to the radiation exposure. We had physical examinations. Afterward, because the Japanese and U.S. governments immediately settled the case to meet both governments’ political intentions, our government did not conduct a follow-up investigation.” Masumoto said to the Fisheries Minister, “Seven out of nine former crewmembers of my ship died of cancer or leukemia. Not only for myself but for other crewmembers, I ask for the smooth settlement of the state compensation issue.”

After the meeting, Fisheries Minister Yamamoto said to reporters, “The Kochi Prefectural government carries out various measures required for health damages and health concerns of the H-bomb test victims. I hope the national government can support the prefectural government. Regarding the damage compensation suit which was filed with the Kochi District Court, I will wait to see how the trial will turn out.”

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kami Tomoko in April at an Upper House agriculture committee meeting asked the Fisheries Minister to meet with former crewmembers.

Past related articles:
> Ex-fishermen affected by 1954 US H-bomb tests sue gov’t for relief [May 10, 2016]
> Victims of 1954 US H-bomb test will apply for seamen’s compensation [January 13, 2016]
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