2019 Hiroshima Speech from Shimosawa Yoko

① 74 years ago, an Atomic Bomb was dropped from the sky, at this place where you and I are assembled today. I am honored that I was given this opportunity to tell you my story in such a special occasion.

② This world is made out of two kinds of things. Things we can see with our eyes, and things we cannot.

We can see the effect of heat rays and blasts that destroyed many precious lives in a horrifying way.
Then there were countless numbers of lives lost from the acute symptoms of radiation including high fever, drastic hair loss, and bleeding from all over the body.

③ But, that’s as far as we can see.
Then there are things we cannot see, that can hide.
So what are the things we cannot see?

④ The Atomic bomb created nuclear fall out due to the fission reaction.
They’re radioactive matters created by humans.

Those are the things that we cannot see, feel, or smell.

⑤ We’re human beings. We breathe, we drink water, and we eat food.
We cannot prevent the intake of radioactive matter when they exist around us.
The radioactive matter stays in our bodies and keep emitting radioactive rays. We call that “internal exposure.”

⑥ It wasn’t even a month after the atomic bombing that the American government declared that everything that died from the atomic bomb had died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Ever since then, the internal exposure has been thoroughly concealed as a military secret.

⑦ However, we can learn from what happened after the past nuclear accidents and experiments.
Quietly and slowly, the internal exposure hurts human bodies, kills the cells, deprives our days of health and energetic activities which then end up stealing the life of a human by illnesses such as cancer. And the effect extends to our children, grandchildren, and more.
The internal exposure is a threat to human survival.

⑧Now, are you aware of the existence of the bombs that keep dropping on our heads?
Who are Hibakusha?
What I would like to tell you here is that: We’re Hibakusha – those of us living in Japan now.

⑨ 8 years ago, our country had a nuclear accident. We are the evacuees.
The accident brought about a wide, dense, and grave contamination throughout the Eastern part of Japan.
Internal exposure causes most of the horrible consequences after a nuclear accident.
This nucleat accident is far from over.

⑩ Right now, the media never reports that fact.
Why is it?
Because, it’s a nuclear disaster.
Because it’s about internal exposure.
If they cannot report it, then we – the evacuees, will report the fact here in the ground zero, Hiroshima.

⑪ I was born and raised in Tokyo. I used to live in Tokyo up until five years ago. When the nuclear accident happened 8 and a half years ago, my daughter was only five years old.
She was a healthy, energetic and a very fit girl who loved to play outside.
Then about a year after the accident, she started to be plagued by bizarre symptoms.

⑫ ”I feel sick. I have no energy…”
“I’m tired, my head aches, my stomach aches, I can’t walk because my legs hurt, my hands hurt to the tips of my fingers, I’m cold, and my face is too hot. Mummy I’m worn out”
After the accident, such symptoms started to plague her periodically. It grew worse. It kept growing worse until she couldn’t live a normal life anymore.

⑬That’s when I found a doctor. He was a doctor who is tackling the radioactivity issues in the Metropolitan Area.
The doctor was mentioning that – depending on the child, sometimes, those who were unwell in the contaminated part of Eastern Japan achieved remarkable recovery when they were relocated to Western Japan. That clicked with me.

⑭According to this doctor’s examinations, the counts of white blood cells of children in the Metropolitan Area – especially the neutrophil cells are considerably decreasing.
Later, we found out our two children had the same tendency.

⑮Anyway, I made my daughter stay away from Tokyo. Toyama, Okinawa and Kobe – she recovered remarkably when she went to places without radioactive contamination. But, when she came back to Tokyo, she became sick again. We were left with no choice but to leave Tokyo.
We simply fled from Tokyo.

⑯It was five years ago.
And now, I have a thirteen year old who is healthy and loves every day of her life.
We used to live in Tokyo, which is the capital of Japan. It is a metropolis. Next year, they’re going to host the Olympics.
However – it’s not only my family who desperately fescape from the city.

⑰ So often, we hear that there is no difference in the radiation dosage within Tokyo before and after the accident so that means it is safe.
Our home in Kobe has a little higher air dose than our home in Tokyo. But, my daughter recovered rapidly.
We can not use the air dose to measure the level of internal exposure.

⑱ What we should look at, ladies and gentlemen is the soil.
That is “the thing” they are trying to hide from us now.
When we look at the soil, it becomes obvious.
It becomes obvious that so many of us have been living with extreme contamination over 100 becquerels. That well exceeds nuclear waste. By rights, it is the level of contamination which should be sealed in metallic barrels and strictly managed.
Please have a look at this contamination map I put here.
There are many places with contamination worse off than in the radiation controlled areas, where it should be off-limits to the general public under ordinary circumstances.

⑲ But, everyone lives there as if nothing has happened.
We can not hear that in the news.
They won’t let us know.
So many are not aware of this fact.

⑳ And even if they realize, we do not have the right to evacuate. So many can not escape from this.
Under such circumstances, gradually, we stopped talking about radioactivity.
It might even be taboo now to talk about radioactivity.

㉑ For us, evacuees, there is no such taboo.
We are connected with a myriad of people to exchange information about what is going on with the radioactivity issues now. In other words, we have our antennas up.

㉒ From the evacuees, and those people who are still living there, I keep hearing about friends and relative’s health problems, lots of sickness, various intractable diseases, many cancers, cancers that bizarrely grow fast, sudden deaths continuously happening in the same area, sudden deaths of young people, and sudden deaths by everyday infection that worsened rapidly.

㉓ Have you ever heard of “Bura Bura Disease?”
A person finds him or herself feeling groggy and hard to keep up with work like everyone else. Having various issues in internal organs, this person is also inclined to catch any sickness, and once sick, it becomes severe.

㉔ Those are the symptoms of Bura Bura Disease that many atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima have been suffering since the last world war.
We took our daughter to hospitals but they did not have a clue. When I knew about this Bura Bura Disease, for the first time, it struck me that the cause could be the radioactivity.

㉕ It’s been said that very similar symptoms of the Bura Bura Disease is spreading among people in the Metropolitan Area in Eastern Japan.
Dr. Shigeru Mita coined the symptoms Degradation of Abilities.

㉖ Hormonal abnormality has been observed in the pituitary glands of people who suffer from such symptoms. So there is a dispute that the radioactive exposure may be affecting the brain.
By monitoring the hormonal values over the recent few years, it gradually became clear to us that such influence had caused the symptoms our daughter suffered while in Tokyo.

㉗ Our daughter, although she is enjoying her healthy days since we relocated, suffers the old symptoms from time to time. When she catches a cold, it often doesn’t go away smoothly like we know it should.

㉘ My son and I look healthy at a glance but our hormonal values are not very normal.
It appears there are many people like that in Fukushima, or should I say, in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
It is the first time in human history that such a large population is living with such heavy radioactive contamination in a large city like Tokyo.

㉙ What is happening to us now?
Can we come clean?
Those questions never seem to leave my head.
But no one has the answer.

㉚ After all, are we – the Japanese and our children, protected from those things? Are we uniting our intelligence and power to protect ourselves from the threat called radioactivity?
What are we doing now?

㉛ In our country, the radioactivity became safe after the nuclear plant accident.
Do you realize that they’re now telling us clearly, that there is no health damage, and that the radiation is not a problem? Do you realize that they’re adopting various policies to drum those phrases into us?

㉜ They tell us that the radiation is mundane like everyday things that we can find in our backyard. It will never become zero. There is no need to be afraid. Being afraid leads to discrimination against people in Fukushima.
That’s the contents of handouts and reading materials to us and our children without our knowledge.

㉝ Radiation is safe.
It is safe so that no one needs to evacuate.
It is safe so “Let’s Support it by Eating.”
It is safe so let’s just dispose of it and burn it as rubbish.
It is safe so let’s thin it down and recycle it throughout all of the country. Let’s use it as fertilizer, let’s feed it to our livestock, let’s put it into our farming fields!
And it is safe so let’s restart the reactors, let’s keep promoting nuclear energy as our governmental policy.
That is what our country is doing now.

㉞ Nuclear bombs had been dropped by humans to kill humans. There are perpetrators.
Just like this, the nuclear accident was caused by humans. And what has been going on after the accident is simply violence.
Just like the bombing, this violence called internal exposure is the act of humans. It is violence against us from perpetrators.

㉟ In reality, humans can protect themselves from internal exposure. It is made possible by staying away from the contamination, by being aware of the intake, and by escaping.
However, our country does not allow us to do that. We do not do that. What’s being done is the complete opposite.

㊱ We hear them shout repeatedly, Let’s Support by Eating, Recover and Reconstruct, the Olympics, and eliminate the rumor damage.
We are perpetrators while also being victims of internal exposure.
The government and the authorities that are cutting off its people by exposure are perpetrators, but at the same time, they are all humans. So everyone is being exposed.

㊲ In this nuclear accident, the perpetrators are the victims and the victims are the perpetrators without even realizing it.
What in the world are we – the Japanese, doing?

㊳ So many are under this violence without knowing why they’re feeling unwell, why they are so sick, and why they’re dying. They will never be informed nor find out why.

㊴ What on earth is the reason we must be blinded to internal exposure and live under such violence?

㊵ Are we constructing a model case to promote nuclear plants, by proving severe accidents are not at all a big deal?
And where are we heading? Nuclear weapons?
The U.S. President Mr. Trump was talking about a plan to develop an useful and low yield nuclear warhead.

㊶ The existence of issues such as radioactivity and internal exposure only cause problems for those who want to promote nuclear development. It is a crucial point for the entire nuclear industry. That is the reason now they are saying the radiation is safe to this extent.

㊷ In Japan, the Declaration of Nuclear Emergency Situation has not been lifted for the past eight years.
Every day, there are new radioactive materials being released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and they are even arriving here in Hiroshima.

㊸ My daughter is highly sensitive. She becomes unwell when there is a larger release from Fukuichi. We haven’t even come to the beginning of decommissioning the reactors and they say this severe accident will not end for 100 more years.

㊹ For my daughter, it would be too cruel to spend her entire life in this country where no protection from the radioactivity is provided.
I do not want her to live under such violence.

㊺ I am heartbroken and hope my children could live overseas – possibly in the southern hemisphere.
They say the impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is observed in the entire northern hemisphere.
The issue of internal exposure is about the survival of humanity.

㊻ If we are to hope for peace, if we hope to be anti-nuclear, if we talk to the atomic bomb victims who lost their lives here saying that we are not going to make the same mistake again, I feel there is something that we must do right now.

㊼ That is, never let them say, or never shall we say the radiation is safe. Never create a society that allows such an idea and make us live with radioactive substances. Never allow internal exposure and thus try to create a world where we are protected from the exposure.
For that, I yearn for the day when everyone in the world holds hands across the borders.

㊽ I refuse to let our children’s lives be reigned by the nuclear powers.
With the power of humanity, let’s turn this despair into hope.

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