Note: I’m just trying this site out; and although I’m well known as being anti-nuclear I’m not trying to force my opinions down other people’s throats. If you think nuclear power is great that’s fine. I’m just trying to present this as a little known (true) story about the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Japan at the end of World War Two, and the wider political aspect of it. This kind of madness relates directly to what’s going on at the moment:
Born in Tokyo in 1909, Midori Naka was a well-known stage actress of the Shingeki style. In early 1945, Naka became lead actress in the Sakura-tai (Japanese for ‘Cherry Blossom Unit’), a newly formed mobile theater group. Later that year the Sakura-tai troupe moved to Hiroshima, with the intention of spending the season there. The nine members of the troupe rented a house in central Hiroshima with members of another theater group. On the morning of 6th August 1945 there were seventeen people in the house, which was just 650 metres from ground zero of the atomic bomb. Thirteen of them were killed instantly. Midori Naka and three others survived, Naka by jumping in the nearby river to escape the heat and flames. She floated downstream and was fished out by some soldiers.
A few days later, and due no doubt to the fact that she was a famous actress, Naka was able to get a seat on one of the few trains that were then traveling to Tokyo. Suffering from extreme nausea, and with her hair falling out, Naka voluntarily became a patient in the hospital of Tokyo University, where she was given repeated blood transfusions in an attempt to save her life. She died on 24th August 1945. Midori Naka was the first person in the world to have radiation poisoning listed as an official cause of death. She also provided the first live testimony of the Hiroshima bombing to be widely publicised in the Japanese media.
The first western journalist to reach Hiroshima after the bomb was Wilfred Burchett, who worked for the Daily Express. On 5th September 1945, Burchett filed a report which said: “In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly – people who were uninjured in the cataclysm – from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.”
Once the Americans had occupied Japan, all things Hiroshima and Nagasaki became state secrets. Even today, most of the film footage taken in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombs has never been released. The Americans were more than happy to let the world know about the destructive power of the Bomb, but not the reality of it, particularly with regard to radiation. They feared international condemnation and charges of crimes against humanity. General Thomas Farrell, Deputy Commander of the Manhattan Project and head of the medical section, said at a press conference in Tokyo on 6th September: “In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, here at the beginning of September, anyone liable to die has already died and no one is suffering from atomic radiation”.
The Americans confiscated all medical records and research that the Japanese had carried out in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and enforced rigid press censorship. Then in 1947, at the order of President Truman, the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) was established in both cities. It should be noted that the ABCC did not treat radiation victims, rather its purpose was to study them, this while the Americans were publicly saying that there was no problem with radiation. The ABCC research focused on external exposure from radiation released during the first minute after the atomic blast. This is known as ‘initial radiation’. Radiation released after the first minute of the blast is known as ‘residual radiation’, and in many ways it’s just as lethal as initial radiation, but it was barely included in the study. The ABCC’s brief seems to have been to research the effects of the Bomb not in scientific terms, but in military terms; ie, how much death and injury would be caused in the immediate aftermath of the explosion (out of this came Project GABRIEL, which studied the probable impact of radioactive fallout resulting from nuclear warfare). The longer-term effects of residual radiation were largely ignored, as was internal exposure; ie, the effects of radioactive particles if they get inside the body, so-called ‘hot particles’.
Due to its cold-hearted nature, the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission was very unpopular amongst the hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb) and in the 1970s it morphed into a joint US-Japan venture called the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF). To this day, RERF still has offices in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and here’s the rub: in our modern age, radiation risk assessment is still based on the faulty studies carried out by the ABCC and the RERF, studies that were driven to look at the effects of the Bomb in military terms, and by America’s desire to downplay the dangers of radiation. Agencies such as the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) continue to use these studies for risk assessment; and of course there’s the totally immoral agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), which stifles all dissent.