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HISTORY OF KOREAN-HIBAKUSHA ASSOCIATION



The aftereffect of A-bomb was not commonly kown in Korea for a long time
until the introduction of mass media in 60s. Then people realized that it
was very important to meke a strong bond within the victims. The cities like
Pusan, Hapchon, and Tegu, that had many Hibakudha residents, became the
core spots of those activities.

Those victims were strongly hoping that Japan and Korea together ruled
indemnities for Korean victims through the Japan-Korea Treaty for the
postwar agreements which was in progress at that time. However, as the
Treaty concluded in June 23, 1965, people found nothing about Korean
Hibakusha in the sentence, in spite of the fact that they had been sending
messages to their President. They felt like being betraited both from
Japanese and Korean Governments.

To change such a situation, a group of Korean Hibakusha formed "Korean
A-bomb Victim Supproting Coporation" which has become "Korean Hibakusha
Association" in 1977. They sent letters to the tops of both countries.,
Prime Minister Eisaku Satoh in 1971, President Pak Son Hi and Prime Minister
Kakuei Tanaka in1972. The representives of the Association also visited
Japan in several occations.to talk to the Government.

Meanwhile, the number of Association members that was only 800 at the
begining, increased to 9,362 in 1973, and the Association became nationwide
organization that has seven branches located in Seoul, Kiho, Kyonbuk,
Hapchon, Kyonnnam,
Pusan, and Honam. besides headquaters.

Dispite all of those efforts, the Japanese Government had never change its
atitude, claiming, "That issue has been concluded in the Treaty".

That made the Association move to the next step. They started to invastigate
acutual conditions of Krean Hibakusha to make their requests even more
persuasive, and about 800 members' were cleared by 1978. They also
re-organized registration system for returnig members and new members in
1983, trying to lacate many victims who moved many times, or passed away.

However, it was very hard to get the support from citizens in Korea, too.
Besides the lack of understanding against the victims in Korea, the
political condition that divided the country in half, North and South, was
very severe and any anti-nuclear-weapon activities tended to become targets
of suppression. Therefore, they were forced to work by themselves. Getting
no aid from outside, they helped each other.

And even within the victims, there were some disagreements.
Here is a one of the stories about Hibakusha registration in Korea which
Miss Kim Bun Sun told us;
"I remember, in 1965, one of newswriters in Hapchon, announced that he was
trying to get all the victims for the registration for Korean Hibakusha aid
from Japan, and we rushed for it, getting so suprised. I was living in Tegu
at that time, and wondered where other victims were and how they were
suffering,, so I looked for them, in the city or outside of the city, from
Kyonsan-Nmdo to Kyonsan-Pukdo, telling everyone; "Go for Hibakusha
registration. Japan is a good country. They are willing to help usI" I
continued to run to get several fellows until I almost fell to the ground.
And later, we got Korean Hibakusha Society in our land.
I remember the first chief of the branch found that a lot of victims have
already died. I realized I was so lucky that I could still walk, desite of
an attached arm and my sickness. Many of them died. Of course, that must had
been a reality. Afrer all the things were burned, having nothing but
sickness, how could people survive by themselves? No medication was given.
They died accusing A-bomb.
Since the establishment of the Association, hundreds of people have been
registered. But when I try to re-register, everyone was against me, saying;
"What the hell are they going to give you? You have to take pictures, get
census registration, and need money, money, money. We would appreciate even
10 cents now, but they are not going to pay any of that. What would you
expect from a government like this? Japan is a bad country as we thought
that was." So that was a very hard procces for me to get re-registered. I
got hurt...very deeply."


(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.