City of Hiroshima now estimates 557,478 people suffered A-bombing

by Michiko Tanaka and Kohei Okata, Staff Writers

It was learned on March 23 that the estimated number of those who suffered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima stands at more than 557,000, a figure about 15,000 larger than the number confirmed in the last survey conducted 14 years ago. The revised figure was determined in the seventh survey designed by the city to estimate the damage caused by the atomic bombing. Toward this end, the city commissioned experts in statistics to carry out analyses of such materials as applications for A-bomb Survivor’s Certificates and other information which had not been thoroughly analyzed to date. The city will compile and release a report by the end of March.

The national, prefectural and municipal governments have separately conducted surveys on the number of those affected by the Hiroshima bombing. The City of Hiroshima began integrating statistical information in fiscal 1979. The current survey, its seventh, was launched in fiscal 1999.

The city government has hired Hiroshima University’s Research Institute of Radiation Biology and Medicine (RIRBM) to help with this effort. Portions of the data from the register of A-bomb victims and applications for A-bomb Survivor’s Certificates had not undergone close inspection, and this information was put to a computer analysis.

The number of people who experienced the atomic bombing directly, in the city and in some parts of neighboring towns or villages, currently stands at 384,743. This figure is greater than the total from the sixth survey, carried out from 1995 to 1998, by about 12,000. Combined with the number of people who entered the hypocenter area in the aftermath of the blast and those whose circumstances at the time of the bombing are unknown, the figure then becomes 557,478.

As of August 6, the number of dead whose names have been entered in the official register of A-bomb victims is 280,959. The latest survey has revealed that the names of a number of victims appear in the register more than once.

The first six surveys lasted three to four years each, while the seventh survey was pursued for the past 14 years. Megu Otaki, a professor at RIRBM and an expert in statistics, was involved in the survey. “We examined, as closely as we could, whatever information was available about the victims,” he said. Because 68 years have passed since the bombing, “If no new information appears, it will be hard to come any closer to an accurate figure,” Professor Otaki added.

Regarding future surveys, the city’s Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Department commented that efforts to clarify the facts of those who suffered the A-bombing will continue as part of the city’s continual work in this area.

Statistical Survey of People Affected by the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

1. Survey number
2. Fiscal year
3. Total number of people

1. 1
2. 1979-1981
3. 402,491

1. 2
2. 1982-1984
3. 490,222

1. 3
2. 1985-1987
3. 462,924

1. 4 2. 1988-1990
3. 516,611

1. 5
2. 1991-1994
3. 522,664

1. 6
2. 1995-1998
3. 541,817

1. 7
2. 1999-2012
3. 557,478

(Originally published on March 24, 2013)