Lasting legacy of Hiroshima bomb

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The Independent Online
From Ms Sue Rabbitt Roff

Sir: Your editorial of 29 July "Blinded by the light of Hiroshima" repeats the official myth that there was no fallout in the two cities and that the bombings with crude uranium and plutonium weapons "amounted to just the firebombing of two more Japanese provincial cities".

Apart from the estimated 200,000 Japanese who died of radiation injuries as distinct from conventional burn and blast wounds, the endpoint (death certificate) data on the estimated 50,000 members of the British Commonwealth and American Occupation Forces who entered the cities in late 1945 and early 1946 are showing a 74 per cent cancer death rate at an average age of 54 years, whereas the average age of death of unexposed American GIs is currently 71 years. Fifty years after the event, we must acknowledge that the use of strategic atomic weapons in the two cities has had extensive longterm effects which have not been adequately analysed.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Rabbitt Roff

Centre for Medical Education

University of Dundee


The writer is author of 'Hotspots: the Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki' (Cassell).