I bring you warm greetings from the people of Rongelap, Konichiwa and Iakwe!
We are here again today sharing our ideas and experience, fighting for peace and justice for the sake of our children and generations to come. In solidarity we will prevail!
Rongelapese people continued to be displaced ever since they fled their homeland of Rongelap. While the principle community is in exile on a very small and desolate islet called Mejatto, Kwajerain Atoll, Rongelap Atoll is being built and prepared for resettlement.
Remediation and infrastructure make up phase I of the resettlement project and it is almost at an end. The paved runway will be finished in December and the dock in April next year. The Phase II plan was approved last week by the council in their community meeting. Now it has to be approved by Congress. Construction of the dispensary, school buildings, terminal, initial housing (to name a few) makes up phase II. Careful planning is highly important because funding is very limited. We will continue to lobby the US for funding.
Rongelapese people are the victim of many bombs, but it was the hydrogen bomb called gBravoh exploded in 1954 that really affected them. Bravo was the same bomb that contaminated the Daigo Fukuryu Maru(a fishing boat, the 5th Lucky Dragon). This was 1,000 times greater than the bombs exploded on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. A total of 67 bombs were exploded in the Republic of the Marshall Islands under the U.S. nuclear testing program from 1946 to 1958.
The impact of the U.S. bomb testing program, as ethnographic research findings and scientific literature support as resulted in the contamination of the land, short and long term exposure to radiation substances, and alienation from land and other critical resources. Nuclear testing destroyed the physical means to sustain and reproduce a self-sufficient way of life for the people of Rongelap.
Radioactive contamination and involuntary relocation radically altered health, subsistence strategies, sociopolitical organization, and community integrity. A lifetime service as human subjects in a wide range of biomedical experiments further harmed the health and psychosocial well being of the people of Rongelap.
We filed a claim with the Nuclear Claims Tribunal for damages and injuries and consequences for compensation, which must reflect individual injuries and experiences, including pain and suffering, and hardship as well as the corporate experience of the people of Rongelap, whose health, vitality and way of life have been fundamentally altered by the United Statesf nuclear weapon testing programs. But all this depends on the approval of a petition that we submitted for US Congress approval.
Having said this, I came to this Conference not only to give you my support but to seek your usual support, especially from our US friends attending this Conference to lobby your representative in Congress for their votes.
To all of us, the Rongelap Peace Museum plan still exists, except the funding. To turn this project into reality we depend on the fundraiser efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen, your help and contribution is solicited. The purpose of this musium is to portray the solidarity of the two countries, and the experiences of the Hibakusha of Rongelap Atoll, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to educate the public especially the young people, about the horror caused by nuclear bombs.
To finish, Ifd like to thank the Organizing Committee for the opportunity for Rongelapese people to voice their story and concerns. Rongelapese people are very grateful to Gensuikyo for your generosity, continued support and most of all your friendship.
We say Kommol Tata!