On March 1 1954, the United States exploded a hydrogen bomb (Castle Bravo thermonuclear explosion ) at a nuclear test site on the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall seaｓ, the crew members of Daigo Fukuryu Maru(Lucky Dragon No.5) were affected by the nuclear fallout. As a result, all 23 crew members on board suffered from radiation syndrome and after coming back to Japan they were hospitalized and one of them died in September. In Japan, this incident is very well known as Bikini disaster or Lucky Dragon Disaster. This disaster triggered Atomic Hydrogen Bomb Ban Signature Campaign and led to holding of the 1st World Conference against A & H bombs and to the foundation of Nihon Hidankyo.
From March to May 1954 the US conducted series of 6 Hydrogen Bomb tests called Castle Operation in the Marshaｌl seaｓ. The number of fishing boats being affected by the tests is said to have reached 1000. But after Lucky Dragon disaster on the one hand A-bomb survivors drew attention, on the other hand fishermen operating in the Marshall seas except Lucky dragon irradiated and suffering from radiation sickness were ignored.
Since Signature Campaign collected more than 30 million signatures in several months following the Castle Bravo Explosion, the Japanese and US governments were afraid that Anti-Nuclear movement would affect the US-Japan Security policy. So, they intended to look like fishermen affected by Hydrogen bomb tests were limited only to crew members of the Lucky Dragon and tried to conceal damages of other fishermen. On January 4th of 1955, US and Japan agreed that US paid 2 million dollars to Japan as ex gratia payment to Lucky Dragon crew for radiation injury and to ship owners for fishery damage caused by radioactive contamination. In consequence, medical follow- ups and surveys were made only on Lucky Dragon crew.
As you may know, because physical damage caused by radiation is non-specific it is quite difficult to tell physical damage was caused by radiation. Lots of fishermen who were affected by radiation fall-out in the Marshall seas suffered from indefinite complaint for a long time and finally developed various kinds of cancer and other disorders. Their hardships have been abandoned and ignored. But in 1985 a high-school teacher and his students in Kochi prefecture had a chance to interview with one fisherman who experienced both A-bomb and Marshal Nuclear test fallout. After then the high school teacher and his students have had continuous interviews with fishermen living in Kochi prefecture. These interviews surfaced the hardships of the fishermen living in Kochi prefecture. Affected fishermen were not limited to those living in Kochi but to tell the truth, continuous interviews were conducted only with fishermen living in Kochi.
In the case that a sailor including fisherman gets sick due to an accident that occurred during his duties as a sailor he is entitled to be compensated from sailor insurance. The compensation requirement is a link between occupational accident and illness. 11 fishermen applied for sailor insurance (the reason why the number of applicants is limited is because it was quite difficult for them to prove they had encountered the fallouts since most of the sailors had lost their sailors’ notebook), but were eventually dismissed by the agency in charge. At the end of this march, the sailors filed a lawsuit in Kochi District Court seeking cancellation of the dismissal. As I mentioned above it is quite difficult to prove the link between irradiation and radiation sickness. As for this case there has been no similar medical follow ups or surveys which were conducted on A-bomb survivors. But the structure of the requirement for compensation is almost the same as that of A-bomb survivors. With help of doctors and scientists we would like to support the plaintiffs. This case is a problem related to Article 6 of TPNW. Please pay attention to the case.