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World Conference against A & H Bombs

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Kang Hojung, Korean Atomic Bomb Casualty Association, ROK

International Meeting

2015 World Conference against A & H Bombs

 

Kang Hojung

Korean Atomic Bomb Casualty Association

Republic of Korea

 

 

I bring greetings to the organizers of the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, members of international and social organizations, who have come all the way to attend this event. I appreciate your attendance. I am happy to see you.

 

I am Kang Hojung. I am here on behalf of the 2,600 Koreans who were exposed to A-bomb radiation in Japan.

 

This is my first participation in the World Conference.

 

At this gathering commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, I vividly recall the awful images and stories that I heard from my parents. My uncle died three days after the bombing due to the after-effects.

 

MyThe uncle, who loved me so much, died without leaving even onea word for me. My family was consumedabsorbed within grief. I remember it was a rainy summer day.  I could not understand at all what was going on but I still clearly remember just crying while sitting by the window.

 

The atomic bomb was detonated in August 1945, and my family returned to Korea on the following year in 1946. All what we had with us then were the aftereffects of the bomb and hunger.  What hurt us more than anything was the label of Hibakusha and the sense of alienation from society. This kept us from seeking help. To be honest, we were alone without any support.

 

A lot of Hibakusha had lost their lives those days without decent medical support since during those days there were not many hospitals or medical institutions. Quite a lot of people are still suffering from the aftereffects of the atomic bombing even to this daytoday. Furthermore, there are many among second generation Hibakusha who are suffering from unknown diseases that they could only imagine the cause as the result of the atomic bombing, as if they had inherited the suffering from their parents.

 

 Thus it is necessary that we look into the hereditary nature of the radiation diseases and to seek a solution,. Otherwise proving that radiationit will causes bigger issues, not only to affecting affect Hibakusha, but also the second generations. It is a matter of protecting the fundamental rights and human rights, as well as  an issue of recovering the right to live forof the Hibakusha as well asand the second generation Hibakusha.,  Thiswhich needs tohas to be addressed promptly by the governments of the Republic of Korea and Japan, as the parties in charge of compensation for the damage caused by the A-bombing., while it is also an issue of recovering the right to live for the victims.

 

We, the atomic bomb survivors, are moreoldr than 70 years of age.  We live with all sorts of disease, poverty, and agony.  Even in this moment, survivors are dying.

 

At the time of the bombing, 70,000 Korean residents were exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing.  More than 40,000 were killed, and more than 23,000 out of the 30,000 who survived 30,000 went back to their country.  Most of them died a painful death in poverty and agony, and to this day now, only 2,600 are still livingsurvived.

 

However, A-bomb survivors in Korea are discriminated against by Japan, the country responsible for the war. They are also unable to receive the necessary support from the Korean government.  Countries with nuclear energy say they use it for peaceful meanspurpose, but that is not true.

 

If they have chance tThey still are trying to produce nuclear weapons if they have any chance. The northern half of the Korean Peninsula possess nuclear threats to us in South Korea.  We, the Hibakusha, have actually experienced the atomic bomb.  We believe a tragedy like this must not be repeated.  Nuclear weapons that cause such a dreadful misfortune and damage must be abolished by all means.  Let us unite to get rid of nuclear weapons.

 

We pray for the victims of atomic bomb. 

 

A-bomb survivors, friends from the organizing committee of the World Conference against A & H Bombs, and delegates of international organizations and NGOs who came all the way to participate in this conference, I wish you all the best and a successful world conference.

 

And let us vow to make efforts to pass athe nuclear free, peaceful world on to our children and grandchildren.

 

Thank you.