More than 60 percent of second-generation hibakusha still feel anxiety over their parents’ exposure to radiation from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago, a survey showed.
The Tokyo Federation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations released its study report on July 29, the first in Japan covering children of those exposed to the 1945 nuclear attacks.
The group sent questionnaires to 2,391 residents of the capital who are children of atomic bomb survivors in Nagasaki or Hiroshima. It received 660 responses.
About 20 percent of the respondents said they suspect that any health problems they may suffer could be associated with the 1945 atomic bombings.
According to the results, around 20 percent are worried about diseases related to radiation, while another 20 percent are also concerned that the effects of radiation exposure could appear in their children and grandchildren.
“It is difficult for people to find effective ways to address problems if their causes are unclear,” Yagi said. “The central government needs to carefully examine the mental conditions of second-generation hibakusha and provide some care.”
Toyoko Tasaki, 47, who heads a group of second-generation hibakusha in Tokyo, said her mother was exposed to radiation in Hiroshima in 1945.
“Many second-generation victims cannot talk about their anxieties in fear of prejudice,” Tasaki said. “The latest findings could be a good way to represent the silent voices of those people.”
Researcher Yagi’s observation focused on “mental conditions” smacks of the view that the real problem for Fukushima victims is anxiety, i.e., “radiophobia,” rather than any plausible effects of exposure to radioactivity.