One of the men who was on the Japanese trawler exposed to radiation during the American hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in 1954 urged the public Saturday to never forget the incident, or the horrors of nuclear weapons.
“Of the 23 crew members, 14 have passed away,” said Matashichi Oishi, one of those aboard the Fukuryu Maru No. 5 (Lucky Dragon No. 5) when it was irradiated the Pacific Ocean on March 1, 1954. “I also have cancer and have to take more than 30 different medicines a day to continue living.”
Oishi, 77, was speaking at an event near a Tokyo exhibition hall where the Fukuryu Maru is on display to mark the 57th anniversary of the Bikini incident on Tuesday.
“I speak of my accounts not as part of a peace movement, but out of bitterness over something irrational,” Oishi said. “Today we can communicate instantly with people on the other side of the globe via the Internet. I hope that children will discuss with people around the world about ways to abolish nuclear weapons.”
Hiromitsu Toyosaki, a photojournalist who documents nuclear-related damage around the world, said at the same event that the health impact of the radioactive fallout produced by the string of nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll has not been properly investigated.
A declassified U.S. document shows that the fallout spread over an extensive area that included the mainland U.S., Latin America and Japan.
The Fukuryu Maru was fishing for tuna about 160 km east of Bikini Atoll when the U.S. tested a bomb code-named “Bravo” that was 1,000 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
Aikichi Kuboyama, the ship’s chief radio operator, died six months after the blast at the age of 40 and became a symbol of the 1954 incident.