Stop Nuclear War, Abolish Nuclear Weapons!
Establish State Compensation System for Nuclear War Damage!



The truth of the damage caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been hidden in strict secrecy, under the Japanese government's policy of continuing the war until August 15, 1945, and after that, under the occupation policy of the U.S. forces.

Even after Japanese sovereignty was restored in 1952, atomic bomb victims received no assistance from either the United States or the Japanese government for a long time.

The Hibakusha, who had continued to suffer in mind and body from physical infirmity and poverty caused by the atomic bombing, and from the discrimination and prejudice due to ignorance of the damage caused by the nuclear weapons, set about a social movement by forming the national organization of atomic bomb victims, "HIDANKYO" (The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations) in August 1956 amidst the upsurge of the anti-A & H Bombs movement at that time.

HIDANKYO aimed from the outset at the "enactment of a Hibakusha Aid Law by the government (state compensation law)" and "a total ban and the elimination of nuclear weapons" with the main slogan of "No more Hibakusha". Since then, HIDANKYO has continued a many-faceted struggle tenaciously for "No more Hibakusha", while disseminating the facts about "Hiroshima and Nagasaki" in and outside Japan by carrying on witness activities.

This is a report based on the latest data presented by HIDANKYO representing 370,000 hibakusha.

(I) What Do the Hibakusha Tell Us?

Many things have already been said about the hope which the INF Treaty brought forth. We are of the same opinion. It is also clear that the great moral power of world public opinion calling continuously for "No More Hiroshimas! No more Nagasakis!" and "No Euroshima!" contributed to that success.

But if anyone thinks that this has removed the threat of nuclear weapons, or that the danger of nuclear war has receded, we would clearly say "No!".

We must now mobilize world public opinion more widely than ever for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

World public opinion must now shout more loudly than ever: "Stop nuclear war, abolish nuclear weapons!"

We, the Hibakusha who went through the one and only "hell of nuclear war", such as humanity has never experienced, appeal about the real horror of nuclear weapons whenever we have a chance. But how much do we know about its reality?

The "terror of nuclear weapons" has been talked about thousands of times. It is now plain common sense that nuclear war would ruin humanity. But what would happen to humanity if nuclear weapons were used, or what would be no room for the idea of preventing nuclear war by the threat with nuclear weapons nor for protecting a nation by nuclear weapons; and if the big powers were to make these points, public opinion would never fail to launch a mass counterattack. But the realities do not stand for this. Just recently, NATO decided to "maintain tactical nuclear weapons to the newest level". This is a very dangerous situation.

"Atomic bombs are terrible": no doubt this is a well-known, common fact. But there are too many people who think that they know it, or rather they fully know it. How are atomic bombs terrible, and in which sense? We want them to know the real features of the terror of atomic bombs.

How terrible are they and what sense?

"Gigantic destructive power with intense heat, strong wind and radiation", "One million times as strong as conventional gunpowder", "One atomic bomb would ruin one city" and "It would kill tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people, and produce tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Hibakusha": together, these facts form a "hell" beyond human imagination. But the terror of the atomic bomb cannot be fully described by its huge "physical power".

What would happen to humanity, or to this or that person, to you or me, or to your children and my children if an atomic bomb was dropped? What kind of death would we be forced to die, and what kind of life would we be forced to live? Can you swear that you know these facts?

It is said that the accident of the Chernobyl nuclear plant made people realize the fear of radiation. But there is a world of difference between Chernobyl and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The former is an accident caused by a mistake, but the latter was carnage, the carnage of termination clearly designed. In the former case, measures for fire-extinguishing and rescue were provided, no matter how inadequate, but in the latter they were inconceivable. What actually was that incident that occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, causing continuous damage, to humanity for as long as 43 years? It was an incident of the devil's world which should never have happened in the world of man. Human-kind was deprived of its dignity in all meanings, and was nothing but the object of killing for the sake of killing.

Tens of thousands of people were reduced down to the level of "goods", crushed to pieces, mangled and cast away. They called out and cried, but there were no hands to help them. They were burnt to death and crushed in agony. There was no justification whatsoever for these massacres. Those who forced to die the "death of the atomic bomb", the most humiliating death, were not even mourned.

What happened to those who narrowly survived the hell? The first blast inflicted serious physical and mental injuries on them, planting in them the anguish from which they can never escape for the rest of their lives. What is the truth of such a life? What was the "hell" they saw? It is the "Hibakusha", the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who are able to tell of these things.

If billions of people in the world understood the realities of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, public opinion would be a great moral power, enough to abolish nuclear from the face the earth.

(II) Life and Death of Hibakusha -Anti-Human Atomic Bomb-

The number of those killed by the end of 1945 by the atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nabasaki on August 9 of that year are estimated to be 140,000 (+/- 10,000) in Hiroshima and 70,000 (+/- 10,000) in Nagasaki. (NGO symposium in 1977). But the accurate number of victims is not yet known.

According to Japanese government statistics as of March 31, 1986, the total number of surviving Hibakusha is 365,925.

Nihon Hidankyo made a survey of the conditions of the atomic bomb sufferers covering 13,169 Hibakusha of the total of 365,925 and on the 12,726 dead as reported by the former. The research was conducted from autumn 1985 to spring 1986.

This survey is larger both in range and contents than that of 1977 when the NGO symposium was held.

The inhuman characteristics of the atomic bombs revealed by this survey are as follows. (See also the part of tables based on the survey in Reference 1).

1. Horrible Death

(1) Death on "that day" (Table 1, A)

Among 2,797 who were killed on august 6 in Hiroshima and August 9 in Nagasaki, 1945, 18 percent were children below 9 years old; 39 percent were women at ages ranging from 10 to 59; and 8 percent were over 60 years old. (Table 2) There was no time for them to escape. They were crushed and burned to death under collapsed houses.

The atomic bomb completely destroyed the functions of these cities, organizational anti-disaster and rescue operations were impossible.

The destruction and massacre by the atomic bomb can literally be called annihilation, creating an extreme situation in which people had no option but to leave their people in the fire and try to escape.

"I was not a human being at that time." 23 percent of all answerers to this survey are still suffering from the emotional wounds received them.

Among the death toll only 4 percent were able to be with their families when they died. 42 percent of them are still missing. (Table 3) Their bereaved families cannot confirm their death and therefore cannot accept their death. The bereaved can only guess at the last of their relatives and suffer.

Death at that time cannot be called the death of human beings. It was beyond imagination and description.

"There were corpses without heads or without hands and legs."

"I could not understand that a black lump on a bicycle was a human body."

It was the "death of things". This is the impression on survivors.

(2) Later death (Table 1, B)

In days after the atomic bombing, Hibakusha died one after another. 60 percent of those who died by the end of August died of acute atomic diseases. (Table 4)

They lived those days while seeing others dying, full of anxieties and fear of death themselves, and so they died.

The bereaved of 90 percent of the dead since 1946 have the suspicion that death was caused by the atomic bomb, or "later death".

It has been proved epidemiologically that leukemia and other cancers which strikingly increased after 1955 are related to the atomic bomb. It cannot be said that other diseases are not related to the atomic bomb. Much more they become convinced that their disease is the atomic bomb disease so long as symptoms are similar to those experienced just after the bombing.

The pain was torment for most of the dead while they lived. 29 percent spoke about the "days of struggle against disease". 23 percent said that they "became weak in health after the bombing". 9 percent said that they "were full of anxieties and fears of atomic disease". (Table 7)

2. Horrible life

The pain of the dead is also the pain of the surviving Hibakusha. Most survivors always feel the after effect of the atomic bombing when they become ill, or fear the onset of possible disease. Other fears include problems of living and health and the future of their children and grand-children. 74 percent of Hibakusha are suffering from these king of anxieties. (Table 8)

87 percent of those who experience acute disease are suffering from various anxieties as being Hibakusha. Among those who have not experienced acute disease, 58 percent have the same kind of fears. In both cases, there is the possibility or probability that they were affected by radioactivity, which cannot be denied. (Table not included)

There is an objective reason for the Hibakusha's fears, the fears themselves having been caused by the atomic bomb.

Hibakusha easily become subject to the fear of "later death" because they have seen other such cases of "later death". With cancer having become the symbol of atomic disease, this fear is accompanied by the "fear of death".

Even more than 40 years after the end of the war, Hibakusha are living the rest of their lives under the threat of the horror of "later death".

It is not unnatural that some of Hibakusha who have been forced to live such a life are deprived of or have abandoned their "will to live". One of every four hibakusha says that they were once desperate to die or to kill themselves. (Table 9) In fact, some 12,700 cases of the deaths of relatives which 13,000 Hibakusha reported, include so far 47 cases of suicide.

It is quite natural that Hibakusha lost their will to live, since they have to endure the long days of struggle against disease, fear of death and give up all hopes for recovery of their health.

3. The Struggle of Hibakusha

As stated, nuclear weapons are the most brutal weapons, intended for extermination and eradication. The victims were thrust into "hell"- an extreme condition which made them lose all sense of humanity and deprived the survivors of their will to live. It imposed sacrifices on the victims beyond their capacity and did not allow them to live as human beings or even to die as human beings. In that sense, we cannot but confirm that the atomic bomb is utterly an anti-human weapon.

The only way for Hibakusha to live is to struggle and protest against those forces that try to defeat the Hibakusha's will to live. One of their demands on which they live is "to live a stable life with a family". The other is "to make efforts for enactment of a Hibakusha relief law and for the elimination of nuclear weapons". The only way to make the atomic-bomb-caused horrible death and life significant is the activity to let no one suffer again from the atomic bomb "hell" which Hibakusha experienced. (Table 10)

(III) What the Hibakusha Demand?

Atomic bombs are absolutely evil weapons which on no account can man permit. Humankind cannot coexist with them even for a day. Those who wish to be human must fight against them.

The elimination of nuclear weapons and establishment of a state compensation system for victims of nuclear war were are the conclusion that atomic-bomb survivors drew from the experience of their suffering that the way to restore the humanity of the Hibakusha. The path we have followed was not smooth. Hardship will continue into the future.

Our demand on the Japanese and U.S. governments as well as all nuclear-possessing is as follows:

[Demand on the Japanese government]

1) To immediately enact a hibakusha aid law on the principle of state compensation to ensure there are no more Hibakusha.

2) To thoroughly make clear the real picture of the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and make it known widely in and out of this country as a victim nation of nuclear war.

3) To legislate the Three Non-Nuclear Principles into law, declare Japan a nuclear weapons-free nation, and demand that the countries concerned withdraw Tomahawks, SS20s and other nuclear weapons as well as nuclear bases and establishments in and around Japan. Refuse to share a "nuclear umbrella" of any country.

4) To work to establish nuclear free zones in Asia and the Pacific region.

[Demand on the U.S. administration]

1) To acknowledge that the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is against humanity and international law, and apologize to the elimination of nuclear weapons by abolishing its own nuclear weapons first.

2) To deploy no Tomahawks and weapons in Japan. To immediately remove nuclear bases and establishments relating to nuclear war.

3) To give up the Star Wars plan (SDI) expanding the nuclear arms race to outer space.

[Demand on all nuclear possessing countries including the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.]

1) Never to take your eyes off Hiroshima and Nagasaki; listen to what Hibakusha are saying; let your people know the realities of the damage caused by the atomic bombs.

2) To conclude a treaty for a total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons.

3) To abolish all nuclear weapons and the whole array of facilities related to nuclear war in your countries and elsewhere.

4) issolve all military alliances, which are the basis of the nuclear arms race.

(For further details, please refer to No More Hibakusha-Atomic Bomb Victims Demand)

Though the hibakusha won some welfare measures from the Japanese government through 30 years of efforts, the state still refuses to enact a Hibakusha aid law, which the Hibakusha demand.

The Japanese government has shut its ears to the desire of the Hibakusha. Far from that, it has not only cooperated in the nuclear arms buildup of the U.S. but also took the position in 1980 that "the sacrifice of the A-bombing was caused in the unusual situation of war which the victims must endure."

The U.S. administration has never apologized for dropping atomic bombs. The Hibakusha's testimony as atomic-bomb survivors has contributed greatly to the formation of public opinion for the elimination of nuclear weapons, but nuclear weapons have been increased and some other countries are becoming nuclear weapons possessing nations. These facts increase the suffering of the Hibakusha.

Put succinctly, our demand is to establish a system that will ensure that there will be "No more Hibakusha". We believe that it must be a universally legislated principle not only to relative atomic victims but also to defend the peoples of the world from nuclear war.

So long as the danger of nuclear war exists, and if there is only one nuclear weapon in the world, the Hibakusha will continue to shout "Do not let nuclear war break out! Eliminate nuclear weapons!" and "Enact the Hibakusha aid law at once!"

Based on this position, we demand that the United Nations and its member states take the following measures:

1) To confirm that prevention of nuclear war and a complete ban and elimination of nuclear weapons are the urgent vital task, and work for the achievement of this at the earliest possible date. To immediately conclude an international agreement on a total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons.

2) Acknowledging the fact that weapons are inhuman and brutal weapons which human beings can never condone or coexist with, to declare that they work urgently to abolish them completely from the earth.

3) To compile correct information of the atomic sufferings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the light of the present and based on the testimony of the Hibakusha and records, and make it known to people all over the world.

4) To give Hibakusha an opportunity to be heard during SSDIII.

5) To invite Hibakusha to member countries by each government and provide an opportunity for the widest range of people to listen to their experiences.

6) To disseminate our appeal through government and non-governmental organizations.

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【Reference 1】                     (Reference 2)       

Table 1 Number of people's death by the time of death 

13,169 people answered this questionnaire and among their relative families 12,726 had died by the time of this survey. Time of death is as follows.

A. Within 1945    Total 5,696

The days of the bombings (6th of August in Hiroshima, 9th in Nagasaki) 2,797

After the days of bombing (the next day of the bombings - the end of 1945) 2,183

During August  1,614
September     362
October      115
November      47
December      45
Months not known/
No Answer     716

B.After 1946 (up until the time of the survey)   Total 12,726

1946-49      864        1975-79    855
 50-54      599         80-84   1,071
 55-59      594         85-86    223
 60-64      655
 65-70      736       Years not known 139
 71-74      859        No Answer   435

Table 2 Number of deaths by age and sex 

(Victims who died on the days of the bombing)
Number of deaths Percentage
Children (under age 9)
Women (age 10-59)
Aged (over age 60)
Men(age 10-59)


Table 3 Number of deaths by situations when deaths were acknowledged. 

(Victims who died on the days of the bombings) 
Number of deaths  Percentage
As bodies
As ashes 
Could see victims before they died


Table 4 Number of deaths by the time and the cause of deaths 

         (Victims who died by the end of 1945)
Time of deaths
Number of deaths
Cause of deaths
The days of the 
1.Burned to death*(58) 
2.Bombed to death(43)
Within one week
2.Atomic diseases(17)
Within two weeks
2.Atomic diseases(38)
By the end of August
1.Atomic diseases(59) br>2.Burns(34)
September through December
1.Atomic diseases(63) 

        *Burned to death means "Burned to death inside destroyed buildings"

Table 5 Number of deaths by the time and the cause of deaths after 1945 

1946-54 1955-64 1965-74 1975-86 Total

*Those days medical care was not sufficient, so even atomic diseases may have been diagnosed as ordinary diseases.

Table 6 What bereaved families think about deaths of victims 

Question: Doyouthink there is a relation between victims' death and the bombings?
Diseases Cancer Leukemia
Not sure

Table 7 What bereaved families think about victims' suffering (4,488 answered)

(Victims) spend the rest of their lives fighting against diseases; 1,267 (28.5%)
Suffered from general weakening after exposure to the atomic bomb blast;  1,007 (22.6%)
Were concerned about their children;  432 (9.7%)
Were threatened with the horror of atomic bomb diseases; 392 (8.8%)
Had difficulty getting employment;  380 (8.5%)
Were weighed down with the atomic bomb death of all other member of their families; 276 (6.2%) 
Suffered from the painful after-effects of injuries or burns;  254 (5.7%)
Suffered from the hardships of life after the bombing; 235 (5.3%)
Were distressed by lack of others' understncing from their atomic diseases and by delays in medical relief;  172 (3.9%)
Were desperately wishing to die; 129(2.9%)
Were tormented by their experience of what happened that day;  107 (2.4%)
Were left without dreams or hopes of school education, employment, marriage or family life; 83 (1.9%)
Tried in vain to conceal or forget what they went through; 56 (1.3%)
Others  18

Table 8 Number of victims; if they feel anxiety or not 

Question: Do you feel anxiety as a survivor of the atomic bomb?
Answers Number Percentage
Yes, strongly.
A little
Yes.(The extent is not sure)
No I don't.
I am not sure.

Table 9 Number of victims; if they have ever lost the desire to live 

Question: Have you ever thought "I would rather die than experience this much suffering"? or "I wish I had been killed by the bombing"?
Yes, I have. 
Yes, I have. And I still do. 
I have not, but now I do. 
Yes. (It is not clear if he or she thinks so now or not)
No, I have never thought that way.

Table 10 Hibakusha's meaning of life 

Question: What supports your will to live? / What do you live for? (11,151 answered. Answers could choose more than one item)
To live a stable life                 4,155(37.3%)
A life with a family                 4,768(42.8%)
Work                          2,058(18.5%)
Hobbies                        3,083(27.6%)
A religious life                  1,760(15.8%)
Meeting with many people                3,014(27.0%)
Service for communities or societies         2,357(21.1%)
Comforting spirits of the dead by the A-bombings   2,530(22.7%)
A fight against hardships from the bombings      1,739(15.6%)
A life as witness of the holocaust          2,429(21.8%)
Helping otehr A-bomb victims             2,282(20.5%)
Working for the enactment ofa Hibakusha Aid Law    3,815(34.2%)
Struggle to abolish all nuclear weapons        3,854(34.6%)
Others                         230( 2.1%)

  top of this page   Reference 2

Appeal to the World(1993) Introduction
Chronology of HIDANKYO Top Page