Reported in the News Letter on July 18, 1955: Death continues to stalk the people of Hiroshima, 10 years after atom bomb

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People in Hiroshima are still dying from the effects of the atom bomb dropped on the city on August 6, 1945, writes Rupert Edgar.

Behind all the talk about atom bombs and their part in abruptly terminating the war against the Japanese; behind all the conjectures and theories about the morality of atom warfare and its effects on future generations of mankind, that one stark fact emerges.

And there is nothing the scientists or anybody else can do about it.

Here in Hiroshima, ten years after the blast that shook not only Hiroshima but the world, survivors are for the most part leading normal lives.

The city, rendered a wasteland with a casualty list of 80,000 in a matter of seconds on that August morning when hell fell from a cloudless sky, is thriving. In fact, it began to rise from its knees very soon after the disaster. The Japanese worked like ants to make some sort of order out of the chaos that resulted from the explosion. What was one day the most blasted nine square miles of earth became almost the next day like a frontier shanty town of Yukon gold rush days.

Predictions that Hiroshima would be “a desert for 70 years” were proved nonsense within five years of their pronouncement. Today, another five years later, Hiroshima looks as if it might well fulfil the vow of Mayor Shinzo Hamai, who in 1949 prophesied that his city would be the most modern and best planned city in Japan before 1970.

Yet however cheerfully Hiroshima faces the future, the shadow of the A-bomb still hangs over the place.“Secondary indirect radioactivity” – this is the shadow that today overhangs Hiroshima.

It is a menace – invisible, deadly, lurking, apparently sleeping – then suddenly it strikes again.