Hiroshima, Daegu doctors joining forces to convey memories of atomic bombing

(by Miho Kuwajima, Staff Writer)

Doctors from Hiroshima and Daegu, South Korea came together in Hiroshima at the beginning of June to discuss their ideas for joining forces in their work. The Hiroshima City Medical Association, chaired by Makoto Matsumura, and the doctors’ association in Daegu, chaired by Lee Seong-gu, will hold an exchange of views involving doctors whose parents experienced the atomic bombing and will work together in handing down A-bomb experiences and conducting a survey of A-bomb survivors living in South Korea. They aim to hold the exchange meeting between doctors who are second-generation survivors in Daegu next spring.

The two doctors’ associations concluded a friendship agreement in May 2007. They have held meetings on such themes as emergency medical treatment and nursing care. This time they have agreed to include the issue of A-bomb survivors in the scope of their cooperative actions. A subgroup in Hiroshima, which is composed of doctors who are second-generation survivors of the Hiroshima bombing, has already held a gathering in Hiroshima where people listen to the experiences of A-bomb survivors. They are hoping to hold similar meetings in South Korea, too.

Dr. Matsumura, who is a second-generation survivor, suggested holding such meetings “to carry on the spirit of doctors who treated A-bomb survivors in spite of their own illnesses and to call for the elimination of nuclear weapons.” Dr. Lee responded, “With the threat posed by nuclear weapons continuing to grow, these are very pertinent ideas.”

According to the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry of Japan, some 2,240 survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima or Nagasaki live in South Korea. In Daegu, 358 survivors are members of the Daegyeong Branch of the South Korean Atomic Bomb Sufferers Association, a local survivors’ group.

Eleven doctors from Daegu attended the discussion held in Hiroshima. They offered flowers at the Monument in Memory of the Korean Victims of the A-bomb in the Peace Memorial Park and visited the Peace Memorial Museum. Expressing his determination, Dr. Lee said, “We will deepen understanding of the current conditions involving the A-bomb survivors and second-generation-survivor doctors in Daegu and forge stronger ties with Hiroshima.”

(Originally published on June 24, 2019)