by Minami Okada and Maya Inui
A medical Mission from Hiroshima visited Seattle to provide free medical check-up for the surviving victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed more than 200,000 people. On July 22nd and 23rd, the mission saw 27 victims at the Pacific Medical Centers in Seattle. The mission was formed by Hiroshima Prefecture in 1977. This year counts 21st of their bi-annual U.S. visits and 9th at the Pacific Medical Centers, in the collaboration with King County Medical Association (KCMA).
It has been 72 years after the Hiroshima bomb, and victims are mostly in their 80’s or older. Dr. Shuuzou Toyota, a chief doctor of the mission commented that “the main purpose of the mission today is to remove the anxieties of the hibakusha (a-bomb victims) and their children.” According to Toyoda, “hibakusha in the U.S. are either second generation Japanese-Americans who were visiting Hiroshima or Nagasaki during the bomb, or Japanese citizens who moved to the US after WWII for marriage and other reasons.” He explains that Japanese-speaking victims who moved to the US after the WWII would appreciate seeing Japanese doctors, because they usually have hard time understanding English speaking doctors using medical terms. ”I highly appreciate local supports in Seattle. We had many volunteer staffs again this year. Victims are getting old and may not be able to visit the venue in downtown Seattle in near future. Further local supports such as hosting the medical event in neighborhood level may be great,” Toyoda added.