4 Mars 2016
March 2, 2016
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
YAIZU, Shizuoka Prefecture--Around 2,000 people demanded the abolition of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants here on March 1--the 62nd anniversary of an ill-fated U.S. hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific.
In 1954, the hydrogen bomb exploded at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, showering crew members of the tuna fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu Maru with deadly radioactive fallout. It was operating in waters about 160 kilometers from the blast.
Setsuko Shimomoto, the 65-year-old eldest daughter of Tobei Oguro, a former crew member of a fishing boat sailing near the Daigo Fukuryu Maru that day, gave a speech at the "3.1 Bikini Day" rally.
Referring to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, she said, “When I heard the central government announcing that, ‘there will be no immediate effect (on human health),’ I thought I heard the same words in the wake of the Bikini incident.”
“The Bikini incident is not just 'the past.' I applied to the (Japan Health Insurance Association) in order to convey the horrors of the suffering that radiation has caused.”
Her father, Oguro, died of bile duct cancer at the age of 78 in 2002.
Shimomoto, from Kochi, said she and others, including former crew members, applied to the health association Feb. 26, demanding that they be covered by seamen’s insurance.
Tony Debrum, the former foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, said he had called on nations with nuclear weapons to abide by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and filed suit against these nations with the International Court of Justice.
Organized by the executive committee of the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and other groups, the gathering was held at the Cultural Center in Yaizu.
Beforehand, about 1,500 people marched along a 2-kilometer route from JR Yaizu Station to Kotokuin temple in Yaizu to the grave of Aikichi Kuboyama, the chief radio operator on the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, who died at age 40 from radiation exposure soon after the incident.