GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books & Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #196: March 1, 2004

Japan Marks U.S. Nuke Test in Pacific

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

"Japan Marks U.S. Nuke Test in Pacific"
(Mari Yamaguchi, AP) The Guardian,1280,-3804653,00.html


March 1 marks the 50th anniversary from that day when the largest hydrogen bomb ever was detonated on a small atoll in Bikini. It was eight and a half years after the nuclear bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing some 200,000 people, mostly civilians, of all ages.

It is also symbolic in the way this is a day after the conclusion of the second round of six-party talks by Japan, US, China, South Korea, and North Korea, to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapon programs, which reportedly accomplished little, if any, progress.

Fifty years ago the US detonated a hydrogen bomb dubbed as "Bravo", the biggest ever man-made explosion of 15-megaton TNT equivalent, 600 times as powerful as those dropped in Japan's cities, to test its "capabilities" as a part of a military exercise named "Operation Crossroads" conducted at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The US military evacuated the residents there before destroying the atoll, but according to the reports, the change in wind directions resulted in spreading radioactive dust and other fallout to areas hundreds of miles away. Within hours, hundreds of those islanders as well as US weather observers who had supposed to have evacuated to safe areas were suffering from burns, nausea, diarrhea, itching, peeling skin, sores and lost hair and nails. And among them, the most heavily exposed to radiation was an uninformed Japanese fishing troller, the No. 5 Fukuryu-maru, which the article introduced above focuses upon to tell the tragedy. That was when those fishermen had to restart the remainder of their lives of just a few months to decades in agony.

The first fisherman among those on the troller that day died several months afterwards. It was told that before death, he said, "Please make sure that I am the last victim of a nuclear bomb."

After fifty years since then, Japan is being bullied, or even humiliated for its peace loving character, as if its people were afraid of and be submissive to terrorists when the rest of the world led by the heroic US President is declaring crusade against them. Often ignored in such an assessment is that Japanese people have been, at least until now, the only those forced to experience the genuine inferno produced by nuclear explosion in such magnitude. Is it possible, then, that there may be an emotion originating from the very deeps of Japanese people's minds to denounce violence, most of all, nuclear armament?

The article introduced above, as carried by the Guardian and cited also by other news publications around the world, was apparently prepared by an AP correspondent in Tokyo. There is no shouting and no exclamation marks at all in it. It quietly cites the words of a 70-year-old victim, of his life after the incident, and his thoughts. This is a small piece of writing worth reading, which might make the readers begin to dislike nuclear bombs.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications