International Meetinga

2002 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Hiroshima A-bomb Sufferers' Association

Tando Miyoko

At the time of the bombing, I was 13 and in the first year of Hiroshima Municipal Girlsf High School. On August 5th, I was mobilized to help evacuate buildings at Mizunishi-machi. On the following day, I was absent from school because my father wanted me to help him carry the wardrobe to his hometown.

When I opened the window upstairs of my house in Funairi-nakamachi, I saw a pale flash pass all ofr a sudden.  My house was 1.2km away from the hypocenter. Surprised, I put my hands on the face, and I was unable to see anything. Soon, I found myself caught under our fallen house. I got seriously injured in the right knee, which was thrusting out. My father rescued me out. My grandmother was instantly killed. My younger brother, who was out playing, became missing.

Father, my sister and I took shelter in the employee apartment house of Mitsubishi Ship-building Co. at Minami-kanfnon. On our way to the apartment, I got thirsty and drank water. Immediately I vomited yellow liquid. We got drenched to the skin due to gBlack rain,h and felt chilly. Then Father got me put on some clothes.

All day long, we were tired out at the shelter at Minami-kanfnon, but without any medical treatment available.

On the morning of August 8th, my sister died, and on that evening Father died after his condition suddenly worsened. I had something watery because I couldnft eat ea rice ball (cooked rice pressed into the shape of a ball).

When five day passed, my uncle found me and carried me on a rear-car to his house at Hatsukaichi. I had so serious a burn that uncle took me to Hatsukaichi Primary School for treatment, and a few days later, I was transferred to another primary school in Hara Village.

I was bedridden and needed to be cared of by my mother, who escaped the bombing because she has evacuated from town.  Everyone was saying that I would not be able to survive. I suffered hair loss, diarrhea and high fever but I don't remember how terrible they were. For the treatment of the burn, I took bewed herb and applied cooking oil and powder on the body.

In December 1945, I recovered from the burn. In order to support my family, I began to work instead of going to school. I had much difficulty finding a job or getting married. As I was absent from school on August 6, I saved my life, while most of my friends who waere on student mobilization on that day were killed in the bombing. I couldn't but feel guilty for not going there on that day.

After working as a nurse for two years, I got a job at the supplies section of the Japan National Railways. In 1975, my health began to deteriorate and was diagnosed as having chronicle hepatitis.  Some time later, I had to quit the job. I was 51.

On July 9, 2002, I decided to join many other A-bomb survivors to filed the demand that the government recognize us as Hibakusha with diseases caused by the atomic bombing.  Nine years ago I was diagnosed as having hepatitis C, but I wasnft covered by government health care benefit. Since I was bombed at a place within 2km from the hypocenter, I am only covered my ordinary medical insurance payment.

Up to then, I had given up asking for such benefit, anticipating cutbacks in government policy, but supporters at the Hibakusha counseling office helped me visit the doctor to have my medical certificate issued. This helped me decided to apply for government recognition as Hibakusha with A-bomb-related diseases.  At the time I thought that the communication with the doctors was very important.

I wanted the government to recognize that gI have developed hepatitis due to a decline in immunity. That was my first application for the recognition. I could not stop being emotional when my application was accepted at the prefectural government I will go to court if my application is rejected.  In the past, Hibakusha would just file objections to the government when their request was rejected. But we have been able to file lawsuits to the government in collaboration with many supporters. The applications and lawsuits en mass have drawn media attention. Consequently an increasing number of Hibakusha, who used to give up applying for their recognition as having atomic bomb diseases, are now seeking help from the A-bomb Sufferers Association or the counseling office.

In launching a class action lawsuit, it is important to set up a support a cooperation system made up of a wide range of people, including medical doctors, lawyers, civic movement activists, youths, women.  In September, another group of Hibakusha is expected to carry out a concerted application, which I want to see successful.

Hibakusha are not covered by the Hibakusha Aid Law when they live abroad even if they have the Hibakusha certificate.  Therefore, for their sake we must strengthen the campaign for gaining a national compensation for the bombing.  It is our earnest desire to see the campaign calling for gNo More Hibakushah successful.  Let us exert our efforts to establish a nuclear-free 21st century, hand in hand with hibakusha and people all over the world.