HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Tissue samples believed to be from a 40-year-old man who died following exposure to radiation from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test in the South Pacific have been stored at Hiroshima University.
Aikichi Kuboyama, radio operator aboard the Fukuryu Maru No. 5, died Sept. 23, 1954, after his 140-ton trawler, also known as the Lucky Dragon, was hit by radiation from the Bikini Atoll bomb test on March 1 that year. He was the first person to die as a result of fallout from a hydrogen bomb.
Last month, Hiroko Takahashi, a lecturer at Hiroshima City University, unearthed a document in the United States indicating the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology returned the specimens to Japan in 1968. They had been obtained through an army doctor stationed in Japan who attended Kuboyama’s autopsy.
Based on the registration number, officials at Hiroshima University’s Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine said they concluded the specimens kept at the institute must be Kuboyama’s.
The U.S. maintained Kuboyama died of serum hepatitis caused by transfusion treatment, while the Japanese said it was radiation syndrome.
The discovery has stirred expectations that the cause of death will finally be clarified.
As his dying wish, Kuboyama said, “Please make sure that I am the last victim of a nuclear bomb.”
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