Reference2 (1988 Document)

42 Years of a Microcephalous Case due to radiation Exposure in Uterus

Before dawn on February 13 this year(1988), a Hibakusha breathed his lonely last, attended by no one except hospital personnel. 41 year-old Morinaga Shimomura died, twenty days before his 42nd birthday.

Shimomura was in the third month in the womb of his mother, an A-bomb victim within 500 meters of the epicenter on August 6, 1945, 41 years and 10 months ago. His father died of acute A-bomb disease a month after the A-bombing of Hiroshima. His mother returned to her parents' home after his birth. He was brought up by his father's mother. After finishing the course for handicapped people, he moved to his uncle's place in Tokyo, where he worked at a restaurant, at building construction and other places.

The number of antenatal Hibakusha at present is more than 6,693, among whom 25 are recognized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare as "A-bomb Microcephalous" cases. "A-bomb Microcephalus" is also called short-distance-early stage prenatal A-bomb syndrome, the name given to fetuses of 3 to 5 months whose mothers were atomic-bomb victims, a short distance from the epicenter. Their heads are abnormally small and suffered brain injuries (in short, they are intellectually handicapped). But nobody thought, before his death, that Shimomura was a case of microcephalus due to radiation exposure from the Hiroshima A-bombing, partly because he lacked adaptability of society and he did not live with his parents, and because he lived away from the A-bombed city.

After he went to Tokyo, he desperately struggled against hard living and illness in the bleak big city.

It was February in 1987 that he visited a hospital, complaining of pain from a growth as big as a ping-pong ball on the right shoulder. They were repeatedly removed, but in vain, and he had to enter and leave the hospital several times, but the growths became as big as a fist, so he could not live alone. The growths, malignant sarcomas, formed one after another, not only on his shoulders, but all over his body, so he had to have part of the right shoulder removed by surgery in February 1987. But the disease never let him go. It grasped his whole body, tormenting him. It did not take long to deprive him of his characteristic smile.

This year a sarcoma on the abdomen deprived him of his appetite, rejecting even, and those on the head and armpits mercilessly ached all the while. His only hope was to return home, but his life of 41 years and 11 months ended in the hospital on February 13, 1988. That nuclear bomb 43 years ago deprived an unborn baby of the right to live as a human being, to say nothing even of the satisfaction of watching samurai drams on TV.

His lonely bedside was ornamented with 1,000 paper-cranes, offered by peace-lovers in Japan, responding to the appeal from "the circle of paper-cranes", which Nihon Hidankyo had proposed in November, 1987.

Now is the time to do our best to make Shimomura*s experience the last such suffering in the world.

1988 Document @Home Page