Photo/IllutrationA former fishing boat crew member in a photo book themed on the 1954 Bikini nuclear tests (Provided by Keisuke Okamura)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KOCHI—Peace activist Keisuke Okamura is publishing a photo book in English to show Americans what happened to Japanese fishermen after the United States tested hydrogen bombs off the Marshall Islands in the Pacific.

The photo collection, titled “No Nukes” and featuring 70 pictures taken by Okamura, 67, deputy director of the Grass Roots House Peace Museum here, will be released in December.

A number of tuna fishing boats carrying crew members from Kochi Prefecture are believed to have been operating near the sites of the hydrogen bomb tests around the Bikini Atoll and elsewhere in 1954.

The monochrome photos show a former crew member with a wrinkled face, a woman holding a memorial photo of her deceased loved one, and others looking straight at the camera.

The book also includes accounts of the former crew members.

The Japanese government’s survey on damage from the nuclear test was suspended at the end of 1954, and the sailors were not informed about what had happened, including possible exposure to fallout from the nuclear test.

Crew members have sought occupational accident compensation under the seamen’s insurance program and also sued the government for damages.

Okamura began shooting photos of the former crew members in 1994 and started providing assistance for their lawsuit in 2016.

Last year, Okamura released “Bikini Kakuhisai Note” (Bikini nuclear disaster note), a book based on the accounts of the former crew members and others, as its editorial committee chief.

But the book was only available in Japanese.

“I would like citizens in the United States, which conducted the test, to learn about the Bikini nuclear disaster,” he said about his decision to publish the new book in English.

Okamura visited surviving crew members and bereaved families in Kochi, Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures and Tokyo to take photos of 50 individuals.

He also sought help from Kochi University professors and students to publish the photo book in both Japanese and English.

In a separate effort, the Pacific Nuclear Disaster Assistance Center based in Sukumo, Kochi Prefecture, is developing a DVD and educational material featuring the stories of the crew members and their families.

The center is helping the former crew members in their lawsuit against the government and their applications to receive semen’s insurance money.

The DVD will be translated into English, French, Russian and other languages for distribution at schools and libraries in Japan and in nuclear weapon-possessing nations.