Liaison conference asks Japanese government to provide support to North Korean A-bomb survivors

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On April 22, the support and liaison conference for A-bomb survivors living in North Korea, which is co-organized by the Japan Confederation Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin) and its affiliated organizations, asked the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to understand the conditions of North Koreans who experienced the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and now live in North Korea, and to swiftly provide them with medical assistance.

Shingo Fukuyama, the head of the liaison conference; Tetsuo Kaneko, representing the Hiroshima Conference against A- and H-Bombs (Hiroshima Gensuikin); Kim Jin Ho, the executive director of the Council of A-bombed Koreans in Hiroshima; and others visited the ministry and submitted the written request. Mr. Fukuyama and Mr. Kaneko paid a visit to North Korea last year.

In their request, they pointed out that A-bomb survivors in North Korea, with which Japan has no diplomatic relations, have not received any support or compensation guaranteed by the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law. Based on their conversations with the North Korean A-bomb Survivors’ Association in North Korea, they described the harsh reality that North Korean A-bomb survivors face, with health problems and difficult lives, and asked that the Japanese government promptly provide them with humanitarian assistance.

At a news conference after the meeting with the welfare ministry, Mr. Kaneko said that the ministry expressed the view that the relief law would be applied to the survivors in North Korea, but they had no contact information for the North Korean A-bomb Survivors’ Association. Mr. Kaneko stressed, “I’d like the ministry to talk to the North Korean organization and tell the survivors about the relief law.” Mr. Kim also urged the Japanese government to take action, saying, “Aid for the survivors in North Korea can’t wait any longer.”

(Originally published on April 23, 2019)