2010年08月15日

Japanese History after WWII

On anti-nuclear movement in Japan after WWII, men couldn’t have spoken up louder, but ordinary Japanese wives did small steps to Peace without Nuke.   


 @Ban on reporting casualties of atomic bombing

For about 7 years of the occupation after the unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945,the Japanese government and people could not publicly express their views and opinions against U. S. occupation policies.

No detailed reports on casualties and effects of atomic bombing were allowed by the occupation forces.  The general public both in and out of Japan did not know how bad things actually were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

In 1952, the peace treaty between allied powers and Japan was signed, and the censorship by the occupation forces on the news released to the general public was discontinued.

Thereafter, the effects of atomic explosions and tragic situations of the survivors began gradually to be known.

 
 AUse of nuclear weapons evaded in Korea

In late 1949, the Soviet Union announced that they had atomic bombs.  The U. S. started production of hydrogen bombs in early 1950, the United Kingdom made a public announcement a few months later that they had atomic bombs, and in June the same year, Korean War started.  Harry Truman, then U. S. president who had decided the use of the atomic bombs in the Japanese theater, stressed the possibility of the use of atomic bombs in Korea. 

Finally, the atomic bombs were not used mainly because of the strong international insistence that the U. N. forces fighting in Korea d follow the policies of the United Nations that did not agree on the use of atomic bombs.    

As a part of this anti-A-bomb pressure worldwide, the more than 500 million signatures collected all over the world provided a very strong morale support.  Japan was under the occupation of allied powers then and assemblies/demonstrations against occupation policies were severely prohibited. The signature campaign to protest against the use of A-bombs was also strongly discouraged, but still, about 6.5 million signatures were collected in Japan. 

  BSignature campaigns started by a group of housewives

The atomic disease became well known by the Fukuryu-maru incident that took place near Bikini Atoll in 1954.  All of 23 crew of a Japanese tuna fishing boat working on the high seas were exposed to the rays of H-bomb explosion without any warning.  One of them died six months later as the first human victim of the hydrogen bomb experiments.  All other crewmembers also suffered severe after-effects like cancer and died later.

Inspired by this incident, a group of housewives in Suginami, Tokyo started a signature campaign against A-bomb experiments.  This soon became a nationwide movement and a national organization for the movement for banning A- and H- bombs was formed 5 months after the Bikini incident.  By the end of the year, over 20,000 people signed the petition against the bombs.

The group of medical doctors sent to Japan by the U. S. government announced that the incident was not critical because the Fukuryu-maru crew were exposed to lower level of radiation than the maximum permissible limit. They tried to influence Japanese doctors via Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty had been signed 2 years earlier then at the same time as the Peace Treaty.  Mr. Okazaki, then foreign minister, stated that the nuclear experiments of the U.S. necessitated by their defense requirements did not violate  international laws. In addition, he said that the Japanese government would coordinate with the U.S. government in keeping the information about nuclear tests including their effects secret. 

  CMovement in Japan for banning nuclear bombs broke up

The movement in Japan for banning nuclear bombs started after the Fukuryu-maru incident and grew so big and fast that the First World Convention for Banning Nuclear Bombs was held in 1955.  After the convention, the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) was formed, and this council took charge of holding the convention in each succeeding year.  But there were social tumults in Japan in late fifties and early sixties with many students’ campaigns, labor movements, movements of the Japan Teachers’ Union etc. which were highlighted by the nationwide anti-Security-Pact movement.   In this social condition, the National Rally against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikin) was formed with the influence of some political parties after the 9th World Convention for Banning Nuclear Bombs in 1963.  Thus, the movement against nuclear bombs in Japan broke up into 2 factions.

A naive anti-nuclear-tests campaign initiated by housewives grew into a nationwide signature campaign.  But when the movement grew to need a national organization, conflicts within the group started with the difference of hues and political standpoints.

It was no longer a genuine and naive citizens’ movement and in Hiroshima, the citizens engaged in anti-nuclear campaign had to be separated to the two antagonistic groups and argue against each other.  

What remained among the people who had simply wished for peace without nuclear weapons was a bitter feeling of having been used as the tools for political wars among professionals.

It may be safely said that this is one of the reasons why the anti-nuclear campaign in Japan is, in most cases, not popularly supported by the general public.

  DSadako Sasaki and her paper cranes

Sadako Sasaki survived the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, but 10 years later when she was twelve years old, she became ill from the aftereffects of the atomic explosion of 1945.  She started to make paper cranes in her bed in the hope that she would overcome the atomic disease. Making a thousand cranes are usually believed that a wish comes true.  However, her light of hope had gone out.  Sadako’s schoolmates most of whom had the same fear of having atomic disease yearned to solace her grief and started collecting donations to have Sadako’s peace monument erected. 

The schoolmates’ campaign was reported by national news media and got a lot of support nationwide.  Thus, Sadako’s monument was finished and placed in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.  Every year on TV reports of the Hiroshima memorial services on August 6th  (the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima) you can see the statue of a girl standing on a curved roof in the park under which numerous paper cranes are linked together and hanged.  Sadako and her paper cranes become symbol of peace.

  ESadako’s story introduced abroad

Eleanor Core ?, a Canadian woman published a book introducing the story of this Sadako Sasaki and the paper cranes in English.  Very many people in many different countries, helping people in anti-nuclear campaign a lot, have read the book.

Also in New Zealand, Ms.Kate Boanus, ? a school teacher, repeatedly told her students about the horrible effects of atomic bombs.  Her persistence influenced many people around her and the campaign spread to many places.  Movements like this around the world are considered to have resulted in the judgement at the International Judicial Court that the uses of the nuclear weapons are illegal.

 

 FAnti-nuclear campaign of Abolition 2000, the world’s biggest anti-nuclear NGO

The headquarter of the world’s biggest anti-nuclear NGO named Abolition 2000 is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U. S. A.  The word “abolition” was first used in the anti-slavery campaign.  The first laboratory of U. S. government for developing atomic bombs was located near Albuquerque.   As the A-bomb development was the utmost national secret then, the residents in the area were not informed anything about it.  As the knowledge spread, the people’s wish to do away with the negative heritage of human beings took the form of Abolition 2000 there. You can join it free by contacting http://www.wagingpeace.org/home.html.   They are introducing the peace campaigns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in their homepage.

Many American children read the story of Sadako Sasaki and the statue of the  children victimized by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.  The process of the girl’s statue getting erected in Hiroshima very much impressed the American children, and they also had the statue of “Children’s Peace” built in Albuquerque in 1995.

  GNuclear experiments have taken place in the areas the minorities live

The Japanese are the only people who were victimized by the wartime use of the atomic bombs.  But after the war, there have been more than 2,000 experimental explosions that took place in remote areas in the countries that have those bombs.  The areas are usually inhabited by the country’s minorities and consequently, there are more number of minority people who have been exposed to the nuclear radiation by the experimental nuclear blasts than the Japanese atomic bomb casualties.  To describe those people in the world, the original Japanese word which means the atomic bomb victims “HIBAKUSHA” is used as it is.

  HPsychological damages to the HIBAKUSHA

Among the people who survived the atomic explosions and lived normally for several years afterwards, not a few --- maybe several thousand each year --- became ill and died because of the exposure to the radiation.  Also it became clear that there were chances of babies inheriting the negative effect of parents’ exposure to the radiation.   Those factors put HIBAKUSHA in a very difficult position when they wanted to get married or to get hired because people tended to doubt their seeming health or suspect their genetic damage --- they were apt to get segregated.

Although many of them were suffering both mental and physical problems generated by atomic bombing, they had to keep their silence as to their bitter experience to avoid segregation. 

Once they were known to be HIBAKUSHA with fear of getting sick and /or giving birth to handicapped babies, many of them were segregated and had to live poor and lonely lives losing friends and in many cases, jobs.

Some people spoke up and tried to work for improving their situations.  But they tended to get taken as extreme leftists who work for overthrowing the social structure.

With this general trend prevailing, nobody could blame HIBAKUSHA who tried to conceal their atomic bomb experiences.  Also it was almost impossible to expect HIBAKUSHA to lead the campaign to ban nuclear weapons loudly explaining what they experienced.

Now, after 55 years, things have changed a little bit and the general understanding is that HIBAKUSHA are to be properly protected and helped.   There are 158 peace-seeking groups in Hiroshima.    

  ICancellation of Atomic Bomb Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C..

When the Japanese speak against nuclear bombs, Americans counterattack them citing Pearl Harbor which they attacked before declaring the war, and Chinese and Koreans quote mass massacre of innocent citizens and the “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers. 
The American point is that although 300,000 Japanese civilians were killed by atomic bombs, it was the Japanese who initiated the war and invited the tragedy.  They say that the Japanese who were the original aggressor should not be simply yelling loud about the damage of atomic bombs.

The Smithsonian Institute Museum in Washington D. C. was originally chosen as the site of the Atomic Bomb Exhibition.  But because of the objections raised by many American people including the war veterans, the site was changed to American University.  According to the Japanese staffs in the U.S. who took part in the preparation of the exhibition, the Japanese side has to act in the U. S. remembering the emotion of the American war veterans and 70% of Caucasian Americans who justify the atomic bombing of Japan.  They say that simply insisting the Japanese interpretation will not convey anything to the other party.  Only after our understanding their culture different from ours through humane and heartfelt communication with them, they will lend their ears to the Japanese idea of ‘peace without nuclear weapons’, they say.

Memories are still fresh that Japan fought against the U. S. and Great Britain who lead the basic trend of the western opinions and, against China who has the biggest population in the world. 

If the Japanese straightforwardly stress the horrible damages of nuclear bombs which are hereditary to the future generations, the other parties may not accept the innocent wish of the Japanese for the peace without nuclear threat, and may blame the Japanese for playing the role of the A-bomb victims too much.

One of the difficulties for Japan in advocating PEACE lies here. 

 * These texts are licened by "Chikyu Talk" , printed in 2001.                                                                          
    KAIZU Nina has been acting as the president of ACT
    Abiko Culture & Talk, who is a author of "Chikyu Talk".



                                                    

日本語を読む
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「戦後60周年平和事業記念誌」に寄せて

                 
下記は、我孫子市の60周年平和事業の記念誌に掲載されたもので、被爆者の会の方たちにも確認いただき、書き記したものです。

                      
              戦後
60周年に思うこと                                                                                  

                                                           海津にいな(つくし野在住)

 手賀沼公園に、広島の慰霊碑を模した三角形の平和の記念(モニュメント)碑があるのご存知でしょうか。暑い8月に、被爆者の会主催による平和記念式典も続けられてきました。「広報あびこ」に式典の日程が掲載され、私がそれに目を留めて式典に初めていき合わせたのは1993年(酉年)、丁度12年前でした。その夏は、我家にアメリカ人高校生が3ヶ月ほどホームステイしました。間もなく帰国というのに一度も手賀沼公園に連れて行ったことがなかったので、平和式典の日時に合わせて行ってみました。週末の朝であり、人数のすくない式典には近づきがたい雰囲気がありました。その様子を見ながら、しかし被爆地でもない我孫子でなぜ原爆慰霊祭をしているのだろうと不思議に思いました。『ヒロシマ・メモリー、千葉県我孫子市に生きる被爆者』(1982年:市職員組合刊行)と本を手にし、千葉県に被爆者が3千人以上もいることを知ったのはそれからでした。終戦前年(1944年)、徴兵の改正で年齢が18歳にまでに引き下げられ、我孫子からも更に多くの若者が出征しました。我孫子の配属先は佐倉の連隊であり、「総武第2795部隊」として3200名に再編、終戦の年の7月には広島郊外の加茂郡原村(八本松)に駐屯していたので、部隊は広島市内での救援活動と遺体処理作業を命じられました。10日程の作業で、兵士も強い残留放射能を浴び二次被曝しました。「我孫子市原爆被爆者の会」は1978年に発足、翌年には自治労我孫子市職員組合が協力して聞き書きの本を作ることになりました。幸いにも、“藤正(ふじまさ)さん”と通称された開明的な渡辺藤正市長のときに戦後40周年で、平和都市宣言がされました。折りしも旧広島市庁舎を取り壊すとの記事を目に留め、染谷会長(初代)は平和記念碑を建立しようと奔走しました。市の協力を得て軽トラックを借り、柏市、八千代市の分も譲り受けてきたということです。被爆した旧庁舎の敷石、側壁の石は設置されるまでのしばらくの間、議会棟に安置され平和記念碑の前面に石が設置されました。記念碑が出来たころは、アビスタが建設される以前の旧公民館の頃で、木立に囲まれ人目にあまり触れない場所でした。真夏、8月には市長、議長らも出席し平和記念式典は続けられてきました。 あるとき、助役に我孫子の生徒たちも参列させてはと話したことがありました。原爆投下の際に広島にいた助役は、「被爆者の方々がお子さんや孫を参列させないし、まして被爆者である事を他言したくないと思うのだから、市内の生徒を参列させることは難しいのでしょう。」と言われました。被爆者は放射能の影響による健康不安ばかりでなく、就職、結婚などで差別を受けることもありました。そのため被爆者手帳も申請せず、専門医療を受けない人もいたのです。「ヒロシマ・メモリー」に協力した被爆者へも年齢性別だけで名前を明らかにしているのは会長の染谷政富さんだけです。組合職員は信頼関係をつくり熱心に取り組み、刊行までに3年かけて纏めたということです。戦後60年たって、被爆者の方たちは相当に高齢となられました。市内の中学生らを含め100人を超える参列者を被爆平和記念式典に招き、戦後60周年の黙祷を捧げ、2度と戦争を起こさないようにと平和を祈りました。市内生徒の代表は、四半世紀ぶりの我孫子からの平和使節派遣として広島の式典にも参加しました。広島派遣で、生徒たちは救援活動での二次被曝やお母さんのお腹での体内被爆、強制連行で被爆した中国・朝鮮の人たちが多くいたことも知ったでしょう。被爆者が真剣に平和への祈りを続け市民として力強く生きたことや戦争の犠牲者の上に今の平和な日本が作られたことなど、次世代にも地域の人々の努力を理解し継承して欲しいと考えておいでです。我家にホームステイした高校生は、米国で“裸足のゲン”というアニメを授業で見て原爆の恐怖を知ったのでした。日本人が焦土と化した国を復興させたのに感心し、一粒の麦のように芽を出していく日本人の精神力に敬服したと話していました。被爆者の凄まじい苦しみにショックを受けたし、当時に学生だったなら大統領に抗議したと言うのでした。ある被爆者に彼女の話を伝え、外国人にも我孫子の記念碑の意味が分かるようにするといいですねと話したことがありました。国際交流のボランティアで英文の説明も加えられ、銅版プレートが設置されました。この留学生の話は「AIRA(我孫子市国際交流協会)」の広報紙に紹介されました。干支が一回りした酉年の2005
年、その彼女から「結婚しました。佐世保に住んでいます。赤ちゃんが生まれます。」と便りがきました。我孫子からの祈りが、世代や国境を超えて語り継がれ平和を護るようにと心より願っています。

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