A group of atomic bomb survivors in Tokyo urged the government Wednesday to conduct a broader study on health and other issues related to the children of survivors, after finding in its own survey that around 60 percent of respondents “harbor concerns.”
According to a report issued by the Tokyo Federation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, 400 of the 660 respondents born after World War II to survivors of the 1945 bombings and residing in Tokyo said they are worried because their parents were exposed to radiation 70 years ago.
Of the 400, 22.1 percent said they link their own health problems to radiation, according to the survey conducted from January to February 2013 covering 2,391 of the so-called second generation hibakusha.
The survey shows lingering concern among survivors’ children who were not exposed to radiation themselves. The government has not acknowledged genetic effects on the children of individuals who survived the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Also among the 400 who harbored concerns, about 20.2 percent said they were anxious that they might develop a disease, and 19.5 percent said they were worried about the future of their children and grandchildren.
Of the total respondents, 290 said they had some kind of illness, with 19.3 percent believing their condition was caused by atomic bomb radiation and 17.2 percent thinking otherwise. The remaining 63.4 percent said they were uncertain of the cause.
According to the federation, the government conducted a health survey on the children of hibakusha from 2002 to 2006, but it focused on lifestyle-related diseases and did not cover cancer or mental conditions. The survey was also limited to individuals living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“The second generation is highly unsatisfied with the (government) survey,” said federation official Hidenori Yamamoto at a press conference, urging the government to use the group’s survey to improve related policies.
There were 183,519 hibakusha nationwide as of March 31, of whom 6,010, with an average age of 79.2, were living in Tokyo. Around 7,200 children of atomic bomb survivors were residing in Tokyo with an average age of 52.9, according to the federation.
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