Japan-South Korea exchange group to be newly established on April 19, aims to enhance support to A-bomb survivors in both nations

by Miho Kuwajima, Staff Writer

On April 19, a citizens’ group in Hiroshima called the “Hiroshima Branch of the Association of Citizens for Supporting South Korean Atomic Bomb Victims” (chaired by Etsuko Nakatani) will form a peace exchange group with an A-bomb survivors’ group in Daegu, South Korea, which is known as the “Daegyeong Branch of the South Korean Atomic Bomb Sufferers Association” (chaired by Han Pan-gae). Amid a recent chill in relations between Japan and South Korea, the members of the group will seek to pass on their activities supporting A-bomb survivors in South Korea to the younger generation and expand their efforts to promote exchanges between the people of these two nations.

The name of the new group will be determined by April 6. In the future, the members will ask second-generation A-bomb survivors and citizens who live in both cities to become involved in the group’s activities so that knowledge of the A-bomb experiences and the issues faced by the survivors can be broadly shared. This aim will also involve mutual visits by people of these two cities.

On April 19, an exchange event will take place in Daegu to commemorate the establishment of the group, with about 10 people from Japan taking part. Among them will be Keisaburo Toyonaga, 83, an A-bomb survivor who lives in Aki-Ward, Hiroshima. Mr. Toyonaga will serve as the leader of the delegation from Japan. The Japanese participants will interact with about 30 South Koreans, including A-bomb survivors and second-generation survivors from the Daegyeong branch, and exchange ideas about the group’s aims and activities.

The delegates from Japan will be in South Korea until April 21, and will visit the headquarters of the South Korean Atomic Bomb Sufferers Association, which is located in Hapcheon County, as well as its branch office in Busan. In addition, they will seek the cooperation of South Korean citizens for the Hibakusha Appeal campaign, which is led by the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), based in Tokyo, to advance the abolition of nuclear weapons.

(Originally published on April 1, 2019)