Sasamoto, Yukuo. 笹本征男. 1995. Beikoku senryôka no genbaku chôsa—Genbaku kagaikoku ni natta Nihon. 米軍占領下の原爆調査―原爆加害国になった日本 [Atomic Bomb Surveys Under American Occupation: How Japan Became a Nuclear Aggressor]. Shinkansha. 新幹社.
The years it took to develop medical treatment for radiation amounted to a “decade of darkness” for Japanese victims of the atomic bombing. For seven of these years, the American army occupied Japan. This book launches its inquiry into what happened during those years from the history of atomic bomb surveys that objectified victims, and ultimately questions the potential aggression of Japan, a nation that was both a victim of the atomic bomb and a cooperator with the U.S., a nuclear aggressor.
What were the objectives of Japanese and American surveys of the victims? How did they cooperate with one another? What kinds of atomic bomb surveys were actually conducted? The book examines these and other questions in detail. In addition, the author emphasizes that there was a rigorous investigation of pregnant women, nursing mothers, and newly born infants, and that among experiments involving human subjects, this was one of an unprecedented scale, using inhabitants of cities that had not been bombed as objects of comparison. When the world leaped into the new “atomic age,” the victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were rendered into material that could be researched by both Japan and the U.S.
The earthquake and resulting nuclear disaster on March 11th have come to bear a painful reminder to people all over the world that we live in the atomic age. The problem of low-dose radiation exposure remains a major concern of the Japanese media now, but we should not forget that behind this issue lie the many victims of the nuclear age who provided data and became material for research. The book concludes, “This peaceful ‘atomic era’ in which we have ended up calls to question our very presence in it.”
For information regarding the American investigation of effects of the bombing, see Lindee, M. Susan. 1994. Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima. University of Chicago Press.
– Maika Nakao, with English translation by Jennifer Lillie