Survey of A-bomb survivors finds 70 percent still concerned about health effects of A-bomb radiation

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

On July 25, an A-bomb survivors’ association in Tokyo known as “Toyukai” presented a preliminary report on a survey conducted in January on current conditions involving survivors. The survey found that, even 68 years after the bombings, 70 percent of A-bomb survivors expressed concern about the effects of the invisible radiation they were exposed to at that time.

The survey was carried out to mark the 55th anniversary since the group was established. The association sent surveys in January to 4,805 A-bomb survivors in Tokyo with ties to the group. By the end of February, responses were received from 1,795 people, a return of 37.4 percent.

To a question which asked about their fears regarding their exposure to the atomic bombs, 69.7 percent of the respondents answered that they were worried about their health at least some of the time. More specifically, when asked to elaborate on their fears (with multiple answers possible), 44.4 percent said that when they become ill, they worry that the atomic bombings may be the cause, and 37.3 percent expressed concern about the health and future of children and grandchildren.

Regarding their own health, 75.5 percent said they are confined to bed or have a condition that requires medical attention. Only 19.9 percent of the respondents indicated that they are now in good health. Among those who are ill, 24.4 percent expressed their intention to apply for A-bomb disease certification in the future.

The survey sheet included space for the respondents to freely convey their thoughts as A-bomb survivors for the generations to follow. The association plans to compile the results by the spring of next year. The group also distributed a survey to 2,391 second-generation A-bomb survivors and intends to announce the results of this survey by 2015, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings.

(Originally published on July 26, 2013)