• Kyodo


Nguyen Duc, 24, who had been a conjoined twin until he was separated from his brother in 1988, recently visited Japan to again draw attention to the issue of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.

Duc and his brother, Viet, were born in Ho Chi Minh City in 1981. A team of Japanese doctors successfully separated them in 1988.

“Had there been no war, there would have been no massive spread of defoliant, and there would have never been so many victims in Vietnam,” Duc told a peace rally at Osaka City Chuo Public Hall in Osaka’s Kita Ward on March 24.

He now lives with his brother, who has been bedridden since the surgery, at the hospital where they were born and raised and has a computer-related job at the facility.

The bashful Duc arrived at Kansai International Airport on March 19 and was surrounded by welcomers.

Duc said he loves soccer and music. “I don’t think being a handicapped person is something to be unhappy about,” he said.

He admitted that he often feels resistant to remaining a representative for Agent Orange victims, although nearly 17 years have passed since his highly publicized surgery.

“I feel I have to repay for (the kindness that) has been shown to me,” he said. “I also have a sense of mission that there are things that only I can do. But sometimes I feel perplexed when I am carried out of the hospital (for events) with no regard to my will.”

The people who work at the hospital are like his family, but he said he is determined to leave the hospital and become independent someday, saying, “I cannot be dependent (on these people) forever.”

When his talk turned to the issue of war and peace, he took a harsh tone. “I don’t hate the United States, but wars should never be allowed.” He added that he is resolved to continue supporting defoliant victims, if it will help those who have been left with disabilities in any small way.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.