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Pacific Victims Of Nuclear Bombs Speak Out

Wansolwara Online (USP):

Breaking Decades Of Government Secrecy: Pacific Victims Of Nuclear Bombs Speak Out

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Japanese and Pacific survivors of nuclear bombing will speak out about their harrowing experiences during a public seminar to be held tomorrow at the University of the South Pacific's (USP) Laucala Campus, reports a media release from USP.

'From Hiroshima to Fiji: Victims of Nuclear Bombs Speak Out' has been organised by the University in collaboration with the Pacific Concerns Research Centre and will be held at 7pm in the University's S024 Lecture Theatre, located in the School of Social and Economic Development.

The USP media release said that since atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945, people all over the world have been used as nuclear test "guinea pigs". For half a century the Pacific vanua, fenua, land, air and ocean have been used as dumping, testing and storage sites for nuclear weapons by the US, France and Britain.

Like the victims of the tragic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many civilian and military personnel working at nuclear test sites in the Pacific still suffer from health problems they attribute to radiation exposure.

Among them are over 100 surviving Fijian soldiers and sailors who were stationed at Christmas Island during Britain's nuclear testing program in the late 1950s, the USP release said.

In many cases, the victims have struggled against government secrecy and a refusal to accept liability.

At this public seminar, Japanese and Pacific survivors will tell of their harrowing experiences, of the impact of radiation exposure on their health and that of their children, and of their struggle for justice and compensation against the legacy of colonialism. They include:

* Mr Tatsunaru Yonai: a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor; * Mr Tekoti Rotan: a former leading seaman for the Fijian navy who served in Britain's 'Operation Grapple' at Christmas and Maiden Islands in 1957-8; * Mr Isamu Kimura: executive board member, Japan Council Against A & H Bombs; * Mr Hiromichi Yokoyama: Osaka Committee for the Abrogation of Japan-US Security Treaty.

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre is the Secretariat of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement. It is registered in the Fiji Islands under the Charitable Trusts Act. It is a Non-Governmental Organisation in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.


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