Do not easily believe, whatever you see

“I was a young boy living outside the town when the atomic bomb hit the first time. I went to see the survivor, they were carried off to the outside of town. But when I entered the city, I saw only dead bodies. But this is war. I thought I might die too in such days. Hearing the defeat of Japan on August 15 was the most shocking moment to me. It was a big and sudden change for Japan, going from prosperous into nothing. I wonder why people can change so suddenly. I was told that it was right for Japan to fight this war, but it ended so abruptly. To me, this taught me to have a critical thinking on everything – do not easily believe whatever you see.

I became a college professor, and my major was nuclear physics, but it has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. I had an opportunity to go to Los Alamos to do some research in natural science, but Los Alamos happened to be a place where a nuclear bomb was developed. Then I learned that in the mountain around Los Alamos, they had not a bomb itself, but at least a shell of the atomic bomb which was the same type as the Hiroshima bomb. In the mountains of Los Alamos, nobody thought this type still existed. Because the Hiroshima bomb was uranium, and after that, only plutonium bomb were being developed. That incident triggered me to start feeling that I should be involved in nuclear radiation as an expert, because I myself am a bomb survivor. So I started to gather expert on the subject, and started to measure nuclear dose. The study or research that I had been involved in, became a joint project between the USA and Japan. On the American side, the Department of Energy was in charge but on the Japanese side, the Ministry of Health and Welfare was in charge. The US’ Department of Energy was responsible for developing nuclear weapons, Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare was in charge of taking care of A-bomb victims, so their colors were totally different. Therefore, I didn’t want to publicize that I am an A-bomb survivor, and that’s why I did not tell my stories at all while I was involved in the research. In 2008, I retired and became a free man, and I always wanted people to know about how horrible the A-bomb was, and that is why I now tell my story.

What happened in Hiroshima was indiscriminate killing, and that kind of indiscriminate mass-murder or killing shouldn’t happen again. It’s probably not happening right now, but it actually happened. So, if someone who has had that experience tells people what happened, people won’t forget about it. I came here today, and I noticed that there are exhibitions that are related to the Vietnam war. I have never been to Vietnam, so I don’t know much about it, but by coming here I was able to learn about the war in Vietnam, and I can use my imagination to try and understand what happened in Vietnam. So I would like you to try and pur yourself in the situation, that happened to the past, and try to grasp the situation. Since it was the war I was able to imagine, how the houses were destroyed and burned if we received an air raid. So that fact meaning destroyed buildings and burned houses that were mainly made of wood did not surprised me, but what surprised me was so many dead bodies. Hiroshima lost everything, there was nothing in Hiroshima anymore after the bombings, but what existed there was tens of thousands of human corpses, everywhere in town, wherever you go, there were so many bodies around the town.

I would like to say that if we do not abolish nuclear weapons, the outcome will be disastrous. But I also understand that once you obtain nuclear weapons, you don’t want to get rid of them. For these official five nuclear weapons countries, if they decide together that they all have to abolish nuclear weapons, that will be such a good thing for human beings. Some people may say that they have to maintain nuclear weapons to maintain peace or something like that, but the purpose of the nuclear weapons is to destroy and to kill people. The only thing nuclear weapons do is destroy everything, so how can you say you can achieve peace by destroying everything? These countries are hiding themselves behind that word ‘peace’, and trying to do whatever they would like to do. They have to realise that they have to find a way to coexist with everybody else, otherwise, the planet will be destroyed.”