It is now nearly forty years since the United States dropped the atomic bombs in August, 1945.
More than 300,000 people have died as a result of those two bombs, and nearly 400,000 people are still suffering from the torture of the 'atomic bomb hell'.
Through all these years, no adequate Hibakusha* Aid Law has been enacted, and still the world is confronted by the possibility of total destruction by nuclear war. The earnest hope of the hibakusha is that there will never be any more nuclear bomb victims, but even this hope is mocked.
The hibakusha can keep silent no longer.
*This would include not only recognized A-bomb victims provided with official certificates, but also the deceased, the bereaved families, their children and grandchildren.
Those atomic bombs turned Hiroshima and Nagasaki into dead cities: heaps of burnt bodies inflamed and swollen; bodies with eyeballs protruding and burst belies; burnt-out street cars with their passengers; people trapped and incinerated under collapsed buildings; lines of ghost-like figures with skin hanging down in strips. It was a sight so horrible as never to be imagined in this world. We could save neither children nor parents, nor even give water to the people in the throes of death. We can never forget the bitterness and frustration of being able to do nothing to help them.
People who survived the bombing, and those who entered the city to search for relatives or help victims were also struck down by radiation and died after losing their hair and bleeding.
Even survivors continue to bear the burdens with those atomic bombs.
"I have no house. I lost everything. I have never found anything of enjoyment in my life. I am nothing but a living corpse." "I have had to spend all my life in bed." "I cannot work like other people. People way I am lazy. Who is responsible for making me what I am?"
Fear of discrimination in marriage or employment has made many people hide the fact that they are A-bomb victims. Worried by even a slight cold, blaming it on the atomic bomb, the hibakusha feel all the time as if they were carrying an explosive, fearing that A-bomb disease may hit them at any time, or that genetically, radiation will effect their children.
Those whose relatives were killed by the atomic bombs also live in anger and sorrow.
"I lost all my relatives and my hometown." "The sorrow of a parent unable to save her child will never leave me as long as I live." "It is impossible to forget my husband, who disappeared completely from the day the bomb was dropped. I remember him as if it were only yesterday." "My sister struggled against disease till her death."
The atomic bombs wiped out two cities in a flash, killing thousands of people without discrimination. It was the "hell" of the first nuclear war ever experienced, and the damage to body, life and heart of the victims has never ended. It doesn't allow them to live or die as humans. By their very nature, nuclear weapons are the weapons of madness, bringing total extinction. They are weapons so evil that humanity must never accept them.
We hibakusha have been describing the realities of the damage of the atomic bombing and appealing on our suffering, because we want that no one else should ever suffer the hell we have experienced. "Make no more hibakusha" is our appeal, for which we give our lives. It is the aspiration also of all the people of Japan, and all over the world.
Nuclear weapons must never be approved. If the sacrifices of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were ever to be considered unavoidable, it would lead people to tolerate nuclear war.
The enactment of a Hibakusha Aid Law would require the government to compensate for the damage caused by the atomic bombing, and would establish the right to reject nuclear war and its destruction. It would be a proclamation by the State that it never again will create hibakusha.
As we approach the 40th anniversary of the nuclear bombing, the hibakusha make the following earnest appeal:
Do not let nuclear war happen:
Ban nuclear weapons!
Enact a Hibakusha Aid Law now!
It is not until these wishes become a reality that the hibakusha will be able to live as a foundation of peace, and the dead will rest in peace.
Building a fortress to prevent mankind from ever repeating this tragedy--- we consider this our mission imposed by history on those who survived the atomic bombing.
Fulfilling this mission is the real heritage we can pass on to coming generations.
The hibakusha cannot agree to the existence of nuclear weapons either for "national security" or "deterrence". To accept the "nuclear umbrella" to us means nothing by the atomic mushroom cloud.
The world is at a crisis, "there minutes to nuclear war". The elimination of nuclear weapons is a responsibility that does not permit the luxury of even a slight delay.
Do not let nuclear war happen! Never!
We can never escape from fear as long as nuclear weapons exist.
The hibakusha will live on and keep protesting until all nuclear arms are abolished.
The demand of hibakusha on the government of the United States is as follows:
1. To present a formal apology to the Hibakusha, by acknowledging the fact that the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was against all humanity and a violation of international law; this would be an acknowledgment of the need to abolish all nuclear weapons now possessed by the US, and the need to take the initiative in the campaign for elimination of all nuclear arms.
2. Not to deploy Tomahawks or other nuclear weapons in Japan or Japanese waters and to withdraw all nuclear bases and other nuclear facilities from all Japan.
In the Peace Treaty with Japan (Article 9 Provision a2;), the Japanese government renounced its legitimate claim on the US for compensation for all the damage, including the damage caused by the atomic bombs. But this does not absolve the US of moral and political responsibility for dropping the atomic bombs.
*The Peace Treaty with Japan (Signed September 8, 1951) Article 9 Provision a: Japan waives all claims of Japan and its nationals against the Allied Powers and their nationals arising out of the war or out of actions taken because of the existence of a state of war, and waives all claims arising from the presence, operations or actions of forces or authorities of any of the Allied Powers in Japanese territory prior to the coming into force of the present Treaty.
After the war, the ABCC(Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) was organized by the United States. In investigating the effects of the atomic bombs, it treated the hibakusha like experimental animals for the collection of materials. The purpose of the investigation was not for treatment of the injured, but was to prepare for nuclear war. This investigation caused a lasting torture to the hibakusha.
To fulfill our demand "Create no more hibakusha" is the only way that the US can compensate for this crime, the first such in human history.
The hibakusha make the following demands on the US, the USSR and all other countries that possess nuclear arms:
1. Don't take your eyes off Hiroshima and Nagasaki; listen to what the hibakusha are saying; let your people know the realities of the damage caused by these nuclear weapons.
2. Conclude a Treaty for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons.
3. Abolish all nuclear weapons and the whole array of facilities related to nuclear war established in your own countries and elsewhere.
4. Dissolve all military alliances, which form the bases of the nuclear arms race.
Of the Japanese government the hibakusha demand:
1. Investigate thoroughly the realities of the damages caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as the only victim nation of nuclear weapons, and make the results public both in Japan and to other countries.
2. Legislate the Three Non-Nuclear Principles into Law and declare Japan a nuclear weapons-free nation, and demand that the countries concerned withdraw Tomahawks, SS20s and all other nuclear weapons and nuclear bases and facilities in and around Japan. Refuse to share a "nuclear umbrella" of any country.
3. Take an active part in demanding of all countries with nuclear arms that they conclude a Treaty for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons.
4. Work to establish nuclear free zones in Asia and the Pacific region.
5. Enact a Hibakusha Aid Law at once based on the Principle of State Compensation, with the aim of creating no more hibakusha.
The hibakusha, who are still suffering from the injuries and damage done by the atomic bombs, cannot condone the introduction of nuclear arms into Japan, nor Japan being made a nuclear base and target of nuclear attack.
Japan, as a nuclear free nation, should actively work for the prevention of nuclear war, and for a total ban on nuclear weapons, and enact a compensation for the hibakusha, and the duty of the only nation ever to suffer from nuclear war.
1.Responsibility of the Japanese Government
The dropping of atomic bombs by the US caused the first damage of nuclear war in human history. As the court hearing on the atomic bombing has already made clear*, the use of atomic bombs, being indiscriminate and inhumane, was a violation of international law. The Japanese government also admitted that it was against the spirit of international law.** Inflicting atomic damage upon human beings should not be permitted under any circumstances.
* Judgement in the Atomic Bomb Case handed down by the District Court of Tokyo; December 7, 1963
** Reply to Torao Takazawa, member of the House of Representatives* August 7, 1984
It goes without saying that the hibakusha are not themselves responsible for the damage done to them by the atomic bombs, acts which must never be repeated. It was "brought about by war, an action of the State"*.
*Judgement of the Supreme Court in the Song Case; March 30, 1968
In as much as the inhumane atomic bomb damage was the result of war, it is without question that the state that waged the war should be responsible to provide compensation for the damage done.
Immediate enactment of a Hibakusha Aid Law that provides for State Compensation is a duty that rests on the Japanese Government.
In the Peace Treaty with Japan, the Japanese Government renounced its legitimate claim on the Allies for compensation for all damage done, including the claim for compensation for damage from the atomic bombing.
This means abandoning the right to charge the US with its responsibility of dropping the atomic bombs, as well as neglecting the damage caused by the atomic bombing. The Japanese Government, which renounced its claim on the US, should have immediately enacted an Aid Law on its own responsibility.
But the Japanese Government cooperated with the US in concealing the damages inflicted on the people by the atomic bombing, and left the victims without relief for twelve years after the war, when they needed relief measures most. During that period a great number of people died.
Subsequently, as a result of the movement, the Atomic Bomb Medical Treatment Law* and the Hibakusha Special Measures Law** were enacted. But these laws are far from meeting the need expressed in the call for "state compensation", because no compensation is provided for those who died and suffered most, and there are restrictions based on income as the prerequisite for providing allowances. The government has not yet made proper investigations into the facts of the destruction caused by the atomic bombing.
* The Law Concerning Medical Treatment for the Victims of the Atomic Bombs; April 1, 1957
** The Law Concerning Special Measures for the Victims of the Atomic Bombs; September 1, 1968
The Conference for Fundamental Problems of Measures for the Victims of the Atomic Bombs (Kihon-kon), though suggesting that "relief measures for the hibakusha should be provided from the viewpoint of state compensation in the broad sense of the word"*, stated that the current two laws are enough for that. Further, the legislation of an Aid Law was refused on the reasoning that "under the emergency of war, people ought to endure the sacrifice equally".
A Hibakusha Aid Law Based on the Principle of State Compensation has not yet been realized because the Japanese government still expects the people to "endure" the atomic bomb damage on the strength of Kihon-kon opinion.
* On the Fundamental Idea of Measures for the Victims of Atomic Bombs and What They Ought To Be; December 11, 1980
Now, forty years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the hibakusha are rapidly growing old, and their painful cry is "unless compensation is made quickly, we will die before that".
Especially with the crisis of nuclear war closer than ever, and Aid Law is an essential need, so that the hibakusha can live as long as possible to continue appealing for a total on nuclear arms.
2. Four Main Points of a Hibakusha Aid Law
A Hibakusha Aid Law ought to provide for the following four main needs:
1) To provide state compensation for the damage caused by the atomic bombs, with the determination to create no more hibakusha.
To provide state compensation for the atomic bomb damage would mean that the state resolves not to make people `"endure" the damage due to nuclear war, which is a prerequisite for creating no more hibakusha.
2) To provide condolence money and survivor pensions on behalf of those who were killed in the atomic bombing.
The greatest sufferers of the atomic bombings are those who died. No compensation system that omits compensation for the dead deserves the name. Condolence money and survivor pensions would not only express condolences for their unnatural deaths, but would also compensate the bereaved families who have been forced to live a long painful life because of the suffering and death of their relatives.
3) To take provide care of the hibakusha, and provide medical treatment and recuperative care on the responsibility of the state.
The hibakusha suffer from A-bomb diseases and are troubled about their health. Moreover, "Part of the physical consequences of A-bomb radiation are yet to be elucidated", as is stated in the opinion of the Kihon-kon. This state of affairs shows how truly nuclear weapons are against humanity. The government should promote studies on the medical treatment of A-bomb diseases, and be wholly responsible for the health of the hibakusha by instituting necessary measures that include health care and medical treatment merely by presentation of the official certificates issued to atomic bomb victims.
4) To provide A-bomb victim for all hibakusha, with additional provision for those handicapped.
The agony of the hibakusha consists simply in "being a hibakusha" The sufferings caused by the atomic bombing are not limited to the "delayed effects of radiation" which the Kihon-kon refers to. A-bomb victim pensions would be intended to compensate for the damage, both physical and spiritual, and worries and difficulties in social life which the hibakusha must endure throughout their lives simply because they happened to fall victim to the atomic bombings.
3. The Significance of legislating a Hibakusha Aid Law
The Constitution of Japan, which is a product from deep reflection upon the war, proclaims in its preamble that the Japanese people have resolved that "never again shall we be visited with horrors of war through the action for government". How can the policy of making victims "endure" war sacrifices be justified under the Constitution? So much less can the damage of nuclear war be "endured" as human beings. It must not be "endured", either.
This is what we, hibakusha, have been appealing to the world from our own experiences.
What the hibakusha demand is "compensation by the state" for the damage inflicted by the atomic bombs.
Compensation for the damage is the first step against similar damage. The legislation of a Hibakusha Aid Law, requiring the state to compensate for the atomic bombing damage, will help to ensure that no nuclear war damage must be "endured", and establish the right to reject nuclear war.
The legislation of a Hibakusha abroad, for foreign victims of the atomic bombing and the victims of the nuclear experiments as well. We are also convinced that it will open the way to compensation for war damage inflicted on the general public.
To establish the idea of rejection of nuclear arms by legislating an Aid Law is an international duty for Japan, the nuclear victim nation, to carry out.
Only when an Aid Law is enacted, will Japanese appeals for a total ban on nuclear weapons win the support of people all over the world.
Seeking that no more hibakusha be created, we demand that a Hibakusha Aid Law Based on the Principle of State Compensation be enacted with the least possible delay.