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Sunday, September 13, 2009

North Korean A-bomb Survivors

Little has been reported about the North Korean hibakusha (A-bomb victims).

A total of nearly 1,911 hibakusha were identified by the end of 2007 in North Korea, according to the May 3, 2008 report by the Japan Times. About 80% of those hibakusha have passed away.

According to a recent report by Chugoku Newspaper, Hiroshima Medical Association announced that they decided to postpone the health examination of hibakusha in North Korea. The Japanese government intensified the sanctions against North Korea, following their nuclear test at the end of May. The government notified the Hiroshima Medical Association that under the current circumstances,private-level exchange programs would not be possible. According to the Hiroshima Medical Association, there are approximately 380 hibakusha in North Korea. Japan does not have a diplomatic relation with the country,so these people are left out from all the government assistance programs for hibakusha. Dr. Shizuteru Usui, President of Hiroshima Medical Association says, "Hibakusha are hibakusha, wherever they are. We would like to continue to work with the government so that we can visit North Korea by next summer."

(This is an English summary of the Chugoku Newspaper article that appeared in the morning edition of September 8, 2009. )

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