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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 July 30 - August 19  > Listen to Hibakusha!
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2008 July 30 - August 19 [ANTI-N-ARMS]

Listen to Hibakusha!

August 3, 2008
At the International Meeting of the 2008 World Conference against A & H Bombs in Hiroshima, Tanaka Terumi, secretary general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) gave the following speech (gist):

On August 9, 63 years ago, I was exposed to atomic bomb radiation in Nagasaki at the age of 13.

Five of my relatives who were living near ground zero - my grandfather, uncle, two aunts, and cousin who had come home for a vacation from a university in Tokyo - perished all at once. How bitter and sad it was for me to have to cremate the body of my aunt.

Two atomic bombs destroyed the two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an instant and killed more than 200,000 people.

The A-bombs left hundreds of thousands of people, who barely survived the nuclear attack, with the after-effects of exposure to radiation and deep scars.

Hibakusha have called for the elimination of nuclear weapons because they want no one to have the same bitter experience. Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the existence of humanity.

Hibakusha will work hand in hand with the Japanese peace movement in the effort to make a success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

In our struggle demanding that all Hibakusha’s illnesses be certified as caused by exposure to radiation from the atomic bombs, we have won 10 lawsuits in a row, in eight district courts and two high courts.

In these court rulings, the government’s underestimation of the A-bomb damage has been severely condemned. The revision of the A-bomb disease certification system, ordered by then Prime Minister Abe last August, has led to a drastic improvement in the certification standards that began to be used in April. However, we are only halfway to a complete victory for all the 306 Hibakusha and their relief. We are now making every possible effort to have Prime Minister Fukuda decide to settle all the collective lawsuits as a package.

Hibakusha are aging and have little time left. We ask everyone to listen to Hibakusha so that our testimonies are passed on to the next generations as a heritage for humanity. - Akahata, August 3, 2008
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