Hiroshima officials begin first screening for A-bomb survivors overseas

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

Two officials from the City of Hiroshima have begun conducting interviews in South Korea with A-bomb survivors (hibakusha). The interviews held on January 16 were part of the first screening procedures ever to be conducted overseas for issuing the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate, following the revision of the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law.

  Akimi Nakamura, director of the Qualification Division of the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Department of Hiroshima City Office, and others visited Cheong Nam Su, 88, who is confined to a hospital bed in Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do. Ms. Cheong suffered the atomic bombing at her home located 2.4 kilometers from the hypocenter in Hiroshima. In 2005, the City of Hiroshima issued the Atomic Bomb Certificate of Acknowledgement, but she was unable to receive the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate because she could not travel to Japan.

“It pains me that the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate could not be issued to you, even though the city had confirmed the fact of your exposure to the atomic bombing,” Mr. Nakamura told Ms. Cheong. After confirming her identity, he checked such information as the circumstances of her exposure to the atomic bombing by reading aloud the entries in her application documents. Standing next to a tearful Ms. Cheong, her eldest son Kang Seok Jong, 69, remarked, “Although it took a long time to reach this result, I am grateful to you for coming this far.”

The two officials also visited the Hapcheon A-bomb Sufferers Welfare Center to conduct hearings in regard to the difficulties faced by hibakusha in obtaining the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate. They are conducting interviews with six applicants, including those living in Busan and Seoul, until January 19. The Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate is expected to be issued promptly to the six applicants, upon the officials’ return to Japan, as all these survivors were already in possession of the Atomic Bomb Certificate of Acknowledgement.

(Originally published on January 17, 2009)

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Hiroshima officials visit South Korea to screen A-bomb survivors (Jan. 20, 2009)
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