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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Natsuko Hayakawa (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 0 years old at the time / current resident of Yamanashi

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
My father Kaji Eiji was killed by pneumonia in 1992 and his death is registered in the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic-Bomb Victims.
My mother Kaji Sumino is 79 years old and has survived numerous diseases, a gastric cancer, an aneurysm and a collagen disease, and she has a pacemaker in her heart. Despite all these major diseases, she is fine. As I live close to her, I take care of her, while minding my own health as well. (I was born in 1944.)
While working as a professional care-giver, I help A-bomb survivors with their health care, application for care allowance, etc. I passed the exam to qualify myself as a care counselor last year, and I continue studying.

I was too young to remember the A-bomb, but cancer is the biggest fear for myself. I have been diagnosed with gastric, uterine, and throat polyps. They were all found at early stages, and that is why they are polyps, not caner. I religiously go for cancer check-ups twice a year. I am mindful of weight control and the need to maintain my physical strength. I try to walk whenever possible and also go hill walking. My concerns now are for the health of my three children. I was frightened about low blood pressure when I gave birth to them. I pray every day that they will not develop cancer.

My first daughter goes for the annual health check-up for the second generation survivors in Izumi city. I always recommend to other second generation survivors to take these check-ups. Men often benefit from periodic health check-up services provided at their work place. But women and temporary workers, miss such opportunities and need to be aware of the importance of health check-ups.

In the last five years, many survivors have passed away. We, the Association of Atomic-Bomb Survivors in Shimonoseki, participate in the Peace Ceremony in Nagasaki and Hiroshima every other year, praying for the repose of our friends who are registered in the Hiroshima (Nagasaki) National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. Yamaguchi Prefecture has the third largest A-bomb survivors' population. I attend the anniversary ceremony in Yamaguchi every year. But there are fewer and fewer attendees each year, and we are afraid that the Association may not be able to continue. It is very regretful.

Many people have passed away in the course of time, including my family members. My mother, Kaji Sumino, who was full of life, died of cancer at the age of 82. My husband, Masaki Hayakawa died of gastric cancer at the age of 62 on June 12, 2006, seven months after his diagnosis. He was the Head of Nakatsu Office for Asahi News Paper back then. My mother and my husband were talking of going to play golf together, and then my mother was diagnosed with gastric cancer on June 19 in the same year, seven days after the funeral of my husband. Before that, in 2005 my sister had an operation for breast cancer, so she was the third cancer patient in my family. It was devastating.

My mother had two thirds of her stomach removed for cancer seven years ago. I asked the doctor if it was a relapse, but he said it was not because it had been more than three years since the operation.
An operation was not an option this time for her, due to her diabetes, and she was getting weaker and weaker. We took care of her at home for her last 80 days with only an intravenous drip as treatment. She died on December 28, seven months after the diagnosis.

We thought of going through the procedure whereby her cancer would be recognized as A-bomb disease. But when she was dying, it was just too much paper work. From an operation for a pacemaker in her heart, a stomach aneurysm, a collagen disease, diabetes, to gastric cancers, her seventies went downhill with a series of disease. In general she was a healthy person and had no problem with her legs and getting around, even better than myself. It must have been the A-bomb, and I feel so enraged and frustrated.

The war ended when I was 10 month old. My parents feared an attack by foreign prisoners of war and decided to evacuate me to their home town Toyama from Kouyagi Island in Nagasaki Prefecture. We were just passing through Nagasaki City on the day the A-bomb was dropped, and were exposed to the bomb.

Although I was a baby and do not remember any of the calamity, I want to be of some help, and am volunteering in the new Shimonoseki Association of A-bomb Survivors.

Many of the A-bomb survivors have died in the recent years, and I am trying to get as many bereaved families as possible to register their deceased family members to the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims with profile pictures of the deceased. But the bereaved families often refuse the registration. It is so regretful. Even when there is a Government programme to record the loss and suffering of the A-bomb survivors, the deceased can not register their own death. Is the paper work too much for the bereaved family?
So, I started asking the survivors to fill out their details in the registration paper and to choose their own profile picture that they would like for the registration, while they are still alive. In this way, all their bereaved family will have to do is to fill the date of death. More and more people are starting to do this now.

What will happen when I die? I will also have to fill in my own death registration paper. My death might not happen at the average age.

I welcome Obama's new nuclear policy to move towards a world free from nuclear weapons. But at the same time nuclear energy is regarded as an effective solution for CO2 reduction. The world we live in is not so simple.
I am determined to live as a watchdog for nuclear plants safety.