The man who survived two A bomb explosions just died

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Japanese man who survived two atomic bombs dies

A Japanese man who survived two nuclear bombs has died, aged 93.


By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Published: 7:00AM GMT 06 Jan 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was on a business trip to Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Shocked at the devastation, he decided to return to his home town, Nagasaki, arriving shortly before that city was similarly levelled by the „Fat Man” bomb three days later.

Yamaguchi, who died of stomach cancer in Nagasaki on Monday, only began to speak publicly about his experiences after his second son died of cancer in 2005. He had been an infant when the second bomb was dropped.

In 2006, Yamaguchi was interviewed for a documentary titled „Niju Hibaku,” („Twice Bombed”), telling the stories of the very few people who had survived both attacks.

An outspoken critic of nuclear weapons, he told his interviewers, „The reason that I hate the atomic bomb is because of what it does to the dignity of human beings.

„I cannot understand why the world cannot understand the agony of the nuclear bombs,” he added. „How can they keep developing these weapons?” In the film, which was screened at the United Nations, Yamaguchi recounts how he was stepping down from a tram around two miles from the hypocentre of the bomb that detonated above Hiroshima. He was temporarily blinded, lost the hearing in one ear and was badly burned on much of his upper body.

Upon his return to his engineering company in Nagasaki, Yamaguchi was recounting his experiences to his supervisor when the second bomb was dropped.

He later went completely bald, suffered radiation poisoning and experienced medical complications for much of the rest of his life.

Around 140,000 people died in the bombing of Hiroshima, while the figure for Nagasaki is estimated at around 80,000. Six days after the second attack, Japan announced its surrender to the Allies.

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