Report of Workshop 3: Support of and Solidarity with the Hibakusha
and the World Nuclear Victims.
Co-Chairs: Sally Light (USA), Eldon Note (Marshall Islands), Yuri Horie (Japan), and Hirota Noritake (Japan). Mr. Tsuboi and Hirano Emiko, Workshop Coordinators.
1. Mr. Tsuboi introduces Co-Chairs.
2. Speakers from the floor.
3. General discussion.
4. Summary by Mr. Kawai.
1. Mr. Tsuboi introduced the Co-Chairs:
Sally Light - Executive Director of Nevada Experience; Member, Global Council, Abolition 2000; Member, Coordinating Committee, US Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; Member, Board, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power inSpace.
Hirota Noritke - Director, Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions.
Eldon Note - Mayor, Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government, Marshall Islands.
Yuri Horie - Member of the Executive Committee, Women's Interntational Democratic Federation; Secretary General, Japan Federation of Women's Organizations.
2. Speakers from the floor: The following persons spoke: Masahiro Mimura (Japan), Ryoji Yoshino (Japan), Phillip White (Australia), Tom Bailie (USA), Tadahiko Murata (Japan), Russell Springer (USA), Junko Kayashige (Japan), Kabirora Milya (Russia), Keiko Minami (Japan), Zhenisgul Konarova (Kasakhstan), Mr. Tsuboi (Japan), Sally Light (USA), Tadayuki Kusunoki (Japan), Shinya Matsubara (Japan), Takehiko Ishikawa (Japan), Yoshiko Aoki (Japan), Mr. Matsui (Japan), Estuko Oba (Japan), Unidentified man from A Bomb Sufferer's Association (Japan), Masahiro Mimura (Japan), Tomoyasu Kawai (Japan).
Masahiro Mimura (Hiroshima Kyoritsu Hospital):
Theme- Developing solidarity with Hibakusha of South Korea. The South Korean Hibakusha were invited to our conference, but were not able to come because of lack of funding. As for compensation, they do not have adequate care. The government is to provide financial compensation, but it's unclear to what degree. They seek permanent financial compensation.
Ryoji Yoshiro (President, Saitama Prefecture Gensuikyo):
Theme- International solidarity activities of Saitama Gensuikyo. I have visited Hanford downwinders, the Nevada Test Site, and other locations. Following a mutual project with Tom Bailie (USA) where about 250 students planned and held an exhibition re: USA Hibakusha, I invited Tom to come to our conference. International solidarity is very important, and, hopefully, will expand. This will also help in achieving nuclear abolition. I propose that we come up with a timeframe in which to actually accomplish abolition, not just leave it open-ended.
Phillip White (Australia Peace Committee):
A new paper, "Nuclear Weapons Tests in Australia," has new information about testing in Australia. The UK and Australia had a joint testing program from 1952 to 1957. A scathing 1985 Royal Commission report described how aborigines, civilians, and military personnel were deliberately exposed, and, further, the subsequent cleanup was badly done: at Maralinga, they failed to use in situ vitrification and the waste was buried only 3 meters underground without any lining or other environmentally protective measures; there were many "nuclear guinea pigs," especially in the Maralinga tests and there has been no compensation given yet; new evidence shows that mentally and physically disabled people were sent from UK to
be used in tests; stillborn babies were cremated and their ashes were sent to the US and the UK for strontium 90 testing, without permission by the parents; indigenous Australian people were in the general area of the tests. In conclusion, these were deliberate tests which were covered up, and the governments won't compensate.
Tom Bailie (Hanford downwinder, USA):
I have a proposal. Since the people responsible for creating nuclear weapons made fortunes at it and are now living in wealthy retirement, while nuclear victims are largely uncompensated, we should ask the World Court to sue nations that produce nuclear weapons for compensation, using the Treaty of Versailles as a model, and that it would in part set up a fund for compensation of victims worldwide. The individual scientists and their families should also be defendants, and should be identified in the suit, given numbers, and have their financial assets seized to be the source of the fund.
Tadahiko Murata (Hiroshima Pref. Gensuikyo):
I helped organize the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement. I want to somehow help victims in Semipalatinsk. I recommend that we work in solidarity with Hibakusha and aid them.
Russell Springer (Teacher, USA):
On behalf of the children everywhere, I personally support the survivors and witnesses to nuclear destruction, especially in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Survivors and witnesses need to speak with children, creating a "chain reaction" that continues the understanding of what has happened.
Junko Kayashige (Hibakusha, Hiroshima and Women's Democratic Club-Reconstructed):
For a long time I was unable to talk about what happened that day. I had severe burns and there was no doctors.. I went away on a trip. Eventually, I
wrote down my experience. No more nuclear weapons!
Tomoyasu Kawai (Steering Committee of World Conference, Member of Japan
Regarding compensation, each country has its own program. Some are more reasonable than others, and some are very difficult. When nuclear weapons no longer exist, compensation courtprograms will probably improve. Re:Tom Bailie's proposal, I doubt that the World Court would be the best choice of venue.
There are other alternatives. Let's discuss this tonight at the drafting committee meeting.
Kabirora Milya (Russia):
There are problems with compensation in both USA and Russia (gives examples of cases in Russia). In Russia, the government fears that the many Hibakusha there will sue them. Without a struggle, there will be no compensation in Russia. We should no longer be afraid of them, they should bea afraid of us!
Keiko Minami (Gensuikyo delegation to Marshall Islands, Member of the
Fund for Peace Museum in Rongelap):
(He describes his visits to Rongelap.) The ocean, sky and island are so beautiful, and the people are so kind and warmhearted. Re: the settlement and the cleanup there - the Islanders should talk with us more at this conference, should communicate their suffering. They should also have a peace museum at Rongelap.
Zhenisgul Konarova (Int'l Alliance of Women and Children, Movement for
Nuclear Safety - Kazakhstan):
I am very grateful to the Japanese Hibakusha for their help and support. We have a compensation law, but it is not always implemented. At the end
of August of this year, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Chelyabinsk test site. It will be an international event. I propose that there should be an international center to assist Hibakusha and others around the world, and it could also have gatherings of anti-nuclear groups.
Mr Tsuboi (Japan-Eurasia Friendship Association):
We want to have a close relationship with Russian and Khazakhstan victims of nuclear weapons tests. The Soviets performed 718 tests (both underground and atmospheric), plus others tests, e.g., tests that blew up dams and dykes to make lakes. There is serious and widespread contamination through the region of Lake Baikal, and the far eastern region of Russia also has victims of test fallout. Therefore, the number of participants in our conferences from ex-USSR nations is now increasing. We should discuss how we all can cooperate so as to be effective in working to abolish nuclear weapons.
Sally Light (Nevada Desert Experience, USA):
Nevada Desert Experience has organized 1,000s of people for twenty years in demonstrations at the Nevada Test Site. We work closely with the Western Shoshone Nation and also with downwinders and atomic veterans. We were also part of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement. We have recently decided to build a peace museum, inspired by the one in Hiroshima, and we are seeking Japanese partners to design and build it. It would be 1) an international pilgrimage point, 2) a way of sensitizing the US public about nuclear weapons, 3) a way of bringing accountability to the US about its role in all of this, and so on. I hope to speak with those of you about working together on this project. Next June, I will travel to Russia to meet with Alla Yaroshinskaya for the purpose of renewing ties in that region and also as part of our rapid expansion of our activities.
Tadayuki Kusunoki (Hiroshima Gensuikyo):
We are interested in preserving buildings that survived the August 6 bomb. 20,000 local signatures have been collected to preserve 2 buildings. A commission set up for public comments has already had 4,000 opinions submitted from the public. The general consensus is that one building should be a center for art & culture. The commission has approved that the theme of the this building will be "peace and culture."
Shinya Matsubara (Fukui Pref. Gensuikyo & Fukui Pref. Min iren):
We must listen to the stories of the elderly and relate their knowledge and experience to the present time (where, for example, Koizumi wants to change Article IX and intends to visit the Shrine of the War Dead). I believe that democracy in Japan is not yet mature. Also we must remember that Japan invaded Korea ? not allow any cover up. We need a wide-ranging democracy which allows Article IX, but this is not the topic of this conference.
Yuri Horie (Japan):
I have a proposal. Re: nuclear victims' relief and solidarity, let us call for an international law re: compensation. We should ensure that our stories are
told to future generations. Now let's take a short break and come back prepared to discuss today's speeches, focusing onhow we can help Hibakusha and abolish nuclear weapons.
The following points came out of hearing a number of speakers:
1. Hearing experiences of Hibakusha and victims assists us in
learning how to overcome problems.
2. Scientists and experts should work together to determine the ranges of affected areas and how affected areas were decided upon.
3. Support for the proposal from USA (i.e., work together to build a peace museum in Nevada). Such sites are important to make sure that youth and the general public are educated about these issues.
4. We need an international center (similar to the UN) to deal worldwide with these problems.
5. Re: Hanford - the dose reconstruction for individual doses is based on faulty assumptions, so the doses computed come out far below what they should be.
6. Some support was voiced for Tom Bailie's proposal (see above).
7. Culprit countries should be held accountable worldwide; USA should apologize.
8. Japan should compensate Marshall Islanders for its occupation of Kwajalein (prior to US tests).
9. No nuclear victims live in Japan, so we should invite them to Japan to share what they've seen.
10. Japan should examine how it integrates its history into its schools re: nonviolent social values.
Mr. Kawai's summary:
1. Proposals -
a) Global information network. This is needed, but there's no money for it. Also, language barriers present problems.
b) There are inequities re: compensation. The book, "What does the nuclear test mean to me?," discloses this information
c) In Nagasaki on Aug. 8, we will discuss more fully how we can put into practice our proposals (an extension of last year's resolution).
d) To widen our abolition movement, there should be international exchanges between Hibakusha/victims.