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February 21, 2015

Symposium 61 years after Bikini Atoll nuke test



Feb. 21, 2015 - Updated 14:22 UTC+1

A symposium has been held in Tokyo to mark the 61st anniversary of a US hydrogen bomb test on the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific.

The United States carried out the test on March 1st, 1954. Local residents as well as the crewmembers of a Japanese fishing boat were exposed to radiation.

About 100 people attended the event at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo on Saturday.

Residents of the Marshall Islands were invited to share their experiences. Many still have health concerns.

One of the islanders, Tempo Alfred, said he was fishing when the skies suddenly turned bright, and he heard a loud noise. He said he thought a war had begun.
He said he still worries about his health. He said he wants to work together with Japanese to rid the world of nuclear weapons, as Japan is the only country to have suffered an atomic bombing.

23 crewmembers on the Japanese fishing boat, Number 5 Fukuryu Maru, were exposed to radiation following the nuclear test.

The symposium heard suggestions that health checkups should be conducted on crewmembers of other fishing boats that were operating in the region at the time.

Documents uncovered last year showed that some of them had higher than usual levels of radioactivity.


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