Yoshio Sato: The Effects of Radiation
At the end of August we were sent with high fever to the Red Cross Hospital in a small town about 100 km away from Hiroshima. My mother died on the morning of September 2, less than a month after the atomic bombing. My father told me later that he had been prepared for our funerals to come one after another.
By late autumn, the three of us seemed to be getting better. Our hair began to grow little by little though it was considerably thin. The hair looked thinner at the roots and thicker at the top, or top-heavy. It is to my great regret that I did not keep the hairs as evidence of 'Hiroshima'. In March 1946, sister Masako suddenly died, six months after the bombing.
In 1971, I had half my stomach removed because of cancer. My brother, who had become a medical doctor, died of liver cancer in 1984, despite having had surgery twice. Now, I am the only survivor in my family. The death rate from cancer is clearly higher among those who were exposed to the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki than that of those who were not exposed.
Since my retirement as a chemist, I have devoted my life to speaking about the effects of the atomic bomb, going into schools and speaking abroad when I get the chance. I spoke in Vancouver, Canada, in 2001 right after the September 11 attack. After listening to my speech, a young student asked me, "Has the US apologised to you?" My answer was, "No". In May 2005 in New York, where I was taking part in a big peace parade to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons, a lady came up to me and gave me a big kiss after she heard my story. She said, "I want to apologise to you."
Even now, there are about 30,000 nuclear bombs in the world. Nuclear weapons, if used, would produce enormous blasts, intense heat and release deadly radiation. The bomb radiation would not only cause victims cancer and other diseases, but would affect the health of their children.
As a survivor of the atomic bombing, I believe it is my mission to inform the people of the world, especially the yound people, of the horror of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons must never be used again and we must in no way allow the existence of nuclear weapons. I truly believe that the people of the world, by knowing and understanding each other, will be able to work together to abolish nuclear weapons and build a peaceful world.
No more war, no more nuclear weapons.