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What does "Korean-Hibakusha" mean?

What does "Korean-Hibakusha" mean?

First, we need to make this definition clear.
At the moments of the atomic bomb attacks, the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were approximately 420,000 and 270,000, of which 160,000 and 74,000 died according to our estimates. And that includes many Korean people who had been drafted into the Japanese Military and forced to work as Japanese for their aggressive war.
The estimate of the numbers of those poeple in both cities are 50,000 and 20,000.
This means, over 10 % of Hibakusha were Korean people. Now we see a different face of Japan's self portrait as "The only nation of Hibakusha".
40,000 of them were killed by the bombings. The most of the survivors has returned to their country after the war. They are now called "Korean-Hibakusha" whose origins are mostly South Korea.

Why are they special ?
Korean Hibakusha are not only the victims of A-bombs.
They are also the victims of Jpanese Imperialism that invated Korea. The history of Hap-chon, where we call "Hiroshima in Korea" for many Hibakusha redidents, gives us a typical example of the tragic.
First, Japan totaly destroyed their self-sufficing life.. They were foced to produce Japanese rice, silkworms, and cotton without doing their traditional tabacco making. Cutting woods for fire was also restricted.
As the war
progressed and Japan started to loose, the Japanese seizured their rice for military use. and later on, this practice was applied to humans..
The birth of Korean Hibakusha all came through such a tragic path.

Another point that cleary discriminates Korean Hibakusha from Japanese
Hibakusha, is that they have been neglected by the Japanese Government for a long time.
In the case of Japanese, the victims basically have been able to recieve free medical care since 1957 in which "Medical Law for HIbakusha" and "Hibakusha Card" were issued. This protection have also been improved by the establishiment of the aid system based on "The Special Treatment Plan" in 1960, and "Protection Law" in 1994, which offered some money to victims' families for condolences, although we still think that was not enough.
The nation's budget for Hibakusha in 1995 exceeded 145 billion yen which is about a billion in U.S.dollar. However, that budget dose NOT support Korean Hibakusha but only Japanese poeple. Now we should remember that it was NOT Korean victims' intentions to live in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, not by their free wills, but by the force of the Japanese Government.. Inspite of this fact, the Japanese Government had not shown any willingness to take responsibility for drafting people, and kept trying to avoid answering the voices of Korean Hibakusha, that are saying; "Give us the same support as for Japanese people".
As a result, the Japanese Government's discriminating attitude had continued, such as refusing the issue of the Hbakusha Card against Korean victims, until the Supreme Court ruled the lawsuit in favor of the Korean Hibakusha plaintiff, Son Sin-To in 1978. As we all know clearly, that should have been the very basic of Medical Law long time before the victory. And that was still very unfair, in comparison to Japanese Hibakusha, whose aid had been costing over a billion dollar per a year.
Needless to say, this inequality hurts Korean victims so deeply.

How are they doing now and what can we do?

The yougest drafting age was 22. This means all the Korean Hibakusha is over 70 today.
Their past lives, suffered from the colonialization, suffered from the atomic bombs, suffered from the long time neglect, are impossible to restart anymore.
However, we still can recover their human rights.
We would like to ask the Japanese Government to appologize and take responsibility for those three things.

1 Colonialization and Drafting.
2 Atomic Bomb suffering
3 50 years of Neglect.
Those are the mimimum requests as humans.

This is last 50 years of postwar, and many of them are looseing their voices because of their ages and sickness. In spite of that, some of them traveled to Japan for Hibakusha Cards overcoming their financial difficulties. The number of those people has been increased significantly in last two years.
What made them wait for such a long time to come out?
It might be too much anger,
It might be too much anxiety,
It might be too much pain,
It might be too much hardship.
One certain thing is, they are realizing that they have not much time left.
And we should remember that there are still thousands of people waitig for help behind this.
And this is also the last chance for Japanese people to recover their least humanity.

Our request, "Treat them as equal humans"

The Korean Society of Human Rights has satarted to send messages to the Japanese Government and Dietmen since May 2001, which include following requests;
1 To apply the Protection Law to Korean Hibakusha Medical expences, special treatments, and special funeral support should be guaranteed to all the victims regardless of their races or nationalities, following the sprits of the Protection Law.
2 To take responsibility of postwar from the root points.
Korean people were forced to work for the country that had invaded their own. According to our reserch, 107 out of 110 Hibakusha in Seoul think that Japan is responsible for atomic bomb sufferings, which is radically different form the Japanese point of view.
We think that is very important. However, for the first step, the Korean Society of Human Rights only requests to fill out the budget gap between Korean and Japanese which has been piled up to 300 billion yen. The calculation is based on the supporsition that if Korean people had been equally treated as equal humans to recieve equal aid. They has requested 230 million already in 1987 based on the same idea..
The chairman of the Korean Society of Human Rights, Chon San-Sok is telling us that he would never surrender until all the Korean people recover human rights that has been destroyed by Japan.

Take action now!

As we already know, the atomic the bomb effects

1 Kill tons of people in a second
2 Destroy entire livng environment..
3 Keep damaging people for a long time over generations.
We call this "the ultimate weapon".

In addition of that effects, Korean Hibakusha have special problems as we have seen here.

Although the Smithsonian Museum failed to realize the atomic bomb exhibition because of too many oppositions in United States, the anti-atomic movement is now very active around the world.

Also in Japan, lawsuit activities for the Military and Labor Draft against foreign people during the war are in progress in several different locations, typically in Nagasaki, accusing Mitsubishi Company and the Japanese Government. The head of the plaintiff is Kim Sun-Gil of Pusan who is also Korean Hibakusha.

Let us take action now to save suffering people especially those of who have no aid nor help.
Please join us.

(From "The untold story; The 50 years of Korean Hibakusha" reviced edition)

Further information about the problems of South Korean Atomic Bomb Victims.

Association of Citizens for Supporting South
Korean Atomic Bomb Victims.