JPPNW to visit North Korea to aid A-bomb survivors

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

At a press conference held at Hiroshima City Hall on March 18, Dr. Shizuteru Usui, President of the Hiroshima Prefectural Medical Association, announced that Japanese Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (JPPNW) plans to visit North Korea by early 2009 to aid A-bomb survivors living there. This intent has grown out of the experience of the JPPNW delegation, led by Dr. Usui, which attended the World Congress of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) held in New Delhi, India, from March 7-11, 2008.

At the IPPNW gathering, on March 9, Dr. Usui met with two members of Korean Anti-Nuke Peace Physicians (KANPP) and they agreed to begin preparations for a trip to North Korea so that the health of survivors there can be examined. The visit will also provide doctors of Hiroshima with the opportunity to grasp the current circumstance of A-bomb survivors in North Korea. JPPNW hopes to dispatch a delegation sometime between this fall and next spring with Lee Sil Gun, President of the Council of Atom-bombed Koreans in Japan, and others serving as channels for the necessary negotiations.

JPPNW first broached the idea of providing physical examinations to A-bomb survivors in North Korea with KANPP officials during the IPPNW's North Asian Regional Meeting held last year in Mongolia. At that time, KANPP expressed their intention to raise the possibility with the North Korean government. Dr. Usui commented, “As long as there are A-bomb survivors suffering somewhere in the world, I would like to offer aid to them as a doctor from the A-bombed city of Hiroshima.”

Approximately 600 people from 44 countries attended the IPPNW World Congress. During the congress, Japan was confirmed as the host for the next regional meeting. In addition, JPPNW appealed for support in regard to IPPNW's nomination of Mayors for Peace for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.