Fukuryu Maru No. 5 Shipwright Wants No More Nuclear Tragedy

Society

Tokyo, Aug. 9 (Jiji Press)--Kuichi Kimura, a former shipwright who was involved in the work to refit a Japanese tuna fishing boat hit by radiation from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test 68 years ago into a training ship, never wants a nuclear tragedy to happen again.

When the United States conducted a hydrogen bomb test around Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific on March 1, 1954, the Fukuryu Maru No. 5 tuna fishing boat, based in Yaizu Port in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, was operating about 160 kilometers east of the blast epicenter.

All 23 crew members were exposed to radiation from the explosion. One of them died six months after the incident, becoming the world's first human fatality from a hydrogen bomb. Other crew members died of diseases such as liver cancer later, while survivors suffered discrimination and prejudice.

The Japanese education ministry purchased the ship in May 1954, and a decision to refit the vessel was made.

Although it had been confirmed that there was no problem with the residual radiation level of the Fukuryu Maru No. 5, no companies wanted to undertake the refitting work for the ship hit by the radioactive fallout, except a shipbuilder in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture, central Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press