*The following article is reproduced with permission from CPHU Research Report Series 35 (The Center for Peace, Hiroshima University). Please refer to the original site for citation. A PDF version is also available from the original site.

This volume of the CPHU Research Report Series represents a collection of articles titled “Investigation on Compensation Measures for the Nuclear Victims/Survivors around the World: in Light of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.” Most of the articles in this collection are translated from Japanese articles originally published in the journal, Kankyō to Kōgai (Research on Environment Disruption), vol. 50, no. 2, with varying numbers of revisions made. Added to these translated articles in this collection are an article on Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and an article on the Atomic Bomb Survivors’ Support Law in Japan. Each of the articles outlines damages caused by nuclear testing and compensation systems in different parts of the world, such as the Marshall Islands, France, and Kazakhstan. Damages deemed to be caused by radiation are similar to one another, whether they result from atomic bombs or nuclear tests. This collection meticulously investigates what kinds of compensation systems exist for such radiation damages.

As reported in various media outlets every day, Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. As of writing, on March 28, 2022, many areas of Ukraine have been conquered by the Russian military’s actions from east, north and southeast. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that over 10 million people have either fled to neighboring countries or been internally displaced. This means about a quarter of the total population in Ukraine has been forcibly displaced. It is not difficult to imagine how large this number is. I wonder how many more will be forced to flee Ukraine from now on.

The international community, including the United Nations has condemned the Russian military’s actions, as has Japan. Hiroshima University issued a statement of protest, “As a university pursuing peace, Hiroshima University strongly protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,”[1] on February 25, 2022.

On the same day, the Center for Peace, Hiroshima University, at which I serve as director, issued a statement of strong protest as follows:

Numerous innocent citizens experienced the living hell under the atomic bomb’s mushroom cloud. As an educational and research institution in Hiroshima, which experienced and understood the hell of war, the Center for Peace, Hiroshima University, strongly protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There must not be “peace through strength.” We strongly call on Russia to withdraw all troops, stressing that war and conflict sacrifice innocent citizens.[2]

I have been researching the mental and social effects on victims of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. I have conducted interviews with Kyiv residents who have been displaced from Pripyat, the town where power plant workers resided before the accident. I have conducted the interviews in full cooperation with a mutual support organization of displaced former Pripyat residents, “Zemlyaki.” I have contacted Zemlyaki members several times since Russia invaded Ukraine. Ms. Tamara Krasitskava, Chairperson of Zemlyaki, has fled Ukraine to Romania, Hungary, Check Republic, and eventually Hamburg, Germany. From her, I have received an email filled with fierce indignation and sorrow—though I lack the words to express how her message moved me. At the end of her email, she wrote that she would definitely return to Ukraine. Even though prospects for the future are dim, we have to do everything in our power to make them brighter. At the core of educational and research activities in this peace-seeking university, the Center for Peace strives to actively communicate our ideas and thoughts on this issue. As part of this effort, I have made comments in several media outlets. My comments are available in the following articles:

Fukutomi, Tabito, et al. 2022. “Cherunobuiri to Hiroshima no Kizuna, Hibakusha-ra wa inoru ‘Kurikaeshicha naran’” [Bonds between Chernobyl and Hiroshima: Hibakusha Prays, “Never Let It Happen Again”]. Asahi Shimbun, February 26, 2022. [in Japanese].

Chugoku Shimbun. 2022. “Ukuraina Kakukiki Ima Kangaeru: Fukushima Daiichi Genpatsujiko 11-nen” [Thinking about Ukraine Nuclear Crisis Now: 11 Years Since Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident]. March 15, 2022. [in Japanese].

Russian troops conquered not only the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant but also the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the southeastern region of Ukraine. We can easily condemn such brutal actions, but at the same time, the ongoing situation in Ukraine can be seen as a test for Japan, “the only country that has suffered atomic bombings in war,” and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which have suffered effects of the atomic bombings. Furthermore, Russia’s brutal military invasion of Ukraine could be a watershed in discussions on nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. As I pointed out in the abovementioned Chugoku Shimbun newspaper article, we can easily imagine that more and more people would engage in a serious discussion about the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence. Also, many people might push an argument that their countries have to secure a supply of energy on their own even by relying on nuclear energy. It might be also possible for many people to argue that having nuclear power plants carries the risk of them being conquered and exposing many people to radiation. Various arguments could be made, but an increasing number of people are expected to start thinking seriously about the future of nuclear deterrence and feel that the threat of nuclear weapons is relevant to their lives. I have a feeling that the world dependent on force and the pre-World War II world have returned, and that the principle of international cooperation, which has been built by such actors as the United Nations, is broken. I am firmly convinced that publication of this collection of articles would help break such trends.

The first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is now scheduled to be held in June 2022. Currently, I collaborate with Dr. Seiichiro Takemine, the first editor of this collection, Mr. Toshinori Yamada and Dr. Kyoko Hirabayashi, who both are authors of the articles in this collection, and Mr. Akira Kawasaki, Member of the International Steering Committee of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), to draft a “Proposal from the Atomic Bombed Cities”—a proposal especially on Articles 6 and 7 of the TPNW. The research results published in this collection are reflected in this proposal. Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants, and the principle of international cooperation are at a major turning point. This collection hopes to help civil society to calmly assess future discussions on these issues.

Dr. Takemine, the first editor of this collection, is a promising young researcher who has been leading research on global hibakusha. Without his resolve and action, publication of this collection, or even chronicling nuclear victim compensation systems worldwide, would have been impossible. We hope to further our research by comparing and verifying each of the compensation systems in more detail, and to put forward a recommendation for new compensation systems reflecting the in-depth understanding of advantages and disadvantages of different systems.

I close my forward here, hoping this collection of articles helps many people to reconsider the issues of nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants, and the principle of international cooperation.

The works in this collection and the publication of the collection were supported by Toyota Foundation Research Grant Program [Seeking Nuclear Justice: International survey and comparison of compensation measures/systems for the victims of nuclear tests] and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 19H04355 and 18K18261. I also thank Vladisaya Bilyanova Vasileva, a research assistant at The Center for Peace and a doctoral student of mine at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hiroshima University, for helping with the final editing of this volume.

Noriyuki Kawano

The Center for Peace, Hiroshima University

[1] Hiroshima University. 2022. “(2022.2.25) As a university pursuing peace, Hiroshima University strongly protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Last updated February 25, 2022.

[2] The Center for Peace, Hiroshima University. 2022. “Message.” Last updated February 25, 2022.

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