Connect with us

World

Japan A-bomb survivors speak out against nuclear power, decry Abe’s view of war

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Japan A-bomb survivors speak out against nuclear power, decry Abe’s view of war | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Japan A-bomb survivors speak out against nuclear power, decry Abe’s view of war
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: When Atsushi Hoshino set out to revive a group representing atomic bomb survivors in the rural northeast Japanese prefecture of Fukushima 30 years ago, one topic was taboo – criticizing the
nuclear power industry upon which many relied for jobs.

That changed dramatically after March 11, 2011, when a massive tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggering meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

“Until then, I felt somewhat uncomfortable about nuclear power, but not enough to oppose it. Rather, I was in a situation where it wasn’t possible to oppose it,” Hoshino, 87, told Reuters at his home in Fukushima City, about 60 km (37 miles)from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant, the country’s first commercial nuclear plant when it went on line in 1971.

Now, Hoshino, a survivor of the August 6, 1945, U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is among the majority of Japanese who oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to reboot reactors taken off line after the Fukushima disaster. Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant in southwestern Japan is expected to resume operations on August 10, the first to do so in nearly two years.

“I think that since the risk of nuclear power and the fact that human beings cannot control it has become clear; none of the reactors should be restarted,” Hoshino said.

Akira Yamada, chairman of Fukushima’s atomic bomb survivors group, says he reached a similar conclusion. Still, both men are wary of comparing the risks of nuclear power to the horror of atomic weapons.

“There is a difference between military use and peaceful use,” Yamada, who, like Hoshino, became a professor at Fukushima University after the war and later served as its president, told Reuters.

STARK MEMORIES

Seventy years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the experiences of the elderly survivors remain seared in their memories.

Hoshino was a high school student deployed to a munitions factory when a U.S. bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing nearly 140,000 people by the end of the year. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

On Aug. 15, Japan surrendered.

For Hoshino, who had been out of the city but returned to search for missing classmates, one of his starkest memories is of finding two friends, one seemingly unhurt but unconscious, the other barely alive with his entire body – including nose, lips, and eyes – burnt and blackened like charcoal.

The first died in a truck en route to their dorm. The other was alive, but his body was already infested with maggots, which Hoshino removed with tweezers, until that friend died, too.

“Even now, I cannot forget the appearance of those friends who were victims of the atomic bombing,” he said.

Nagasaki survivor Yoshiteru Kohata, 86, who returned to his birthplace in Fukushima a few years after the war’s end, says he long tried to forget the days after the bombing, when he helped injured and carried corpses up to the mountains for burial.

Recounting his experiences, such as hearing a young woman screaming “Please stop, Please stop,” as an army doctor operated on her wounds without anaesthetic, still distresses him.

“Even now, when I tell the story, tears well up and my chest gets tight,” added Kohata, a retired schoolteacher.

DOOMED TO LOSE

Yamada, 89, who was at home 2.5 km from the centre of the explosion when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, filling the sky with black clouds and red flames, says he knew early on that Japan was doomed to lose the war.

While Yamada was in middle school, his cousin, one year older, decided to apply to Yokaren, an Imperial Navy pilot school that ultimately trained many of the “kamikaze” pilots who flew suicide missions in the final months of the conflict.

“I told him, ‘Give it up. Japan cannot win this war’.”

His cousin joined anyway and in February 1945 came to say farewell. “‘We have no gasoline. We have no planes. All I can do is die’. You stay alive and work for Japan’,” Yamada quoted his cousin as saying.

Two months after Japan’s surrender, the family was notified that his cousin had died in the bloody battle of Iwo Jima.

Kohata said he, too, might have flown to his death had not an army colonel told him not to quit school and train as a pilot. “There were many who died at the age of 16,” he said.

Like many “hibakusha” survivors, Yamada, Hoshino and Kohata are harsh critics of Abe, whose conservative agenda includes easing the constraints of Japan’s pacifist, post-war constitution on the military and adopting a less apologetic tone over the war.

Abe is set to mark the 70th anniversary of the war’s end with a statement that some fear will dilute past apologies.

“If you delve into the atomic bombings which had such inhumane results, it was because we fought that war of aggression,” Yamada said, calling Japan’s wartime leaders “murderers”. “But Mr. Abe is not delving deeply.”

Hoshino was even blunter. “I don’t think Shinzo Abe truly recognises that the war was a criminal war of aggression.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 mins ago

Thai PM not happy with soccer gambling

Coronavirus (Covid-19)37 mins ago

Doctors demand the government be more honest about Covid-19

Songkhla1 hour ago

Songkhla officials investigate pricey street lamps

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Crime2 hours ago

Illegal casino operator accused of 4 charges including murder

Thailand2 hours ago

Survey shows lack of confidence in Government’s handling of vaccinations

Thailand3 hours ago

Goverment kind of discloses what the secret budget is spent on

Weather3 hours ago

Penis statue works as village sees rain after erection

Eastern Thailand4 hours ago

Man busted for allegedly possessing over 100 marijuana plants, selling marijuana online

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Bangkok parks, salons, tattoo, massage reopen Monday

Tourism5 hours ago

TAT declares Phuket “is ready” to reopen for tourism on July 1

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 2,804 new infections and 18 Covid-related deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

With nearly 60% of their population vaccinated, why is Chile’s Covid rate surging?

Tourism19 hours ago

Pattaya October reopening hampered by obstacles

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Thong Lor again: 31 arrested in club violating Covid-19 rules

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

Pfizer vaccine application received, review process begun

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending