A-Bomb Survivors’ Leader Says Japan Shares Blame, Too

A-Bomb Survivors’ Leader Says Japan Shares Blame, Too

The debate over whether US President Barack Obama should apologize to Japanese survivors of America’s atomic bombings in World War II made Terumi Tanaka think: What about his own government?
Tanaka, secretary-general of Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations, was 13 when the US dropped its second atomic bomb on Nagasaki city on Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the first on Hiroshima, AP reported.
He was at home on a mountainside and survived, but lost five relatives in the blast. His family lived in an anti-firebombing shelter until Japan surrendered six days later.
“To be honest, I think Mr. Obama should apologize to the survivors,” said Tanaka, 84, a retired engineering professor. “I’ve seen my relatives die in front of my eyes, which I never forget.”
He added, though, that Japan also should take some of the blame.
“Japan started the war and kept dragging it on,” he said. “The government should fully take responsibility for our suffering.”
The Japanese government offered little help for survivors until the confederation he now leads was established in 1956 to demand support. A year later, a national medical compensation law was enacted, but because of stringent standards, dozens of survivors are still fighting in court to get recognized as victims.


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