@19 days until Hiroshima Summit: A-bomb microcephaly

by Yuichi Ito, Staff Writer

Babies who were exposed to intense radiation from the atomic bomb in their mothers’ wombs were born with small heads and brain and body disorders. This is A-bomb microcephaly. The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC, now the Radiation Effects Research Foundation), established by the United States during the occupation, initially explained that microcephaly was “caused by malnutrition during pregnancy,” and families with such children were left without any support.

In 1965, microcephaly patients and their families formed the Mushroom Club. They campaigned to be recognized as suffering from A-bomb disease and given lifetime compensation. They also called for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In 1967, the Japanese government recognized the cause-and-effect relation between the atomic bombing and the disease and began to provide allowances.

The group currently has 11 microcephalic members. It holds a birthday party once a year in Hiroshima City. The group launched their website this month and is strongly demanding nuclear abolition.

(Originally published on April 30, 2023)