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South Korea survivors of Hiroshima report anxiety, discrimination

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea survivors of Hiroshima report anxiety, discrimination
About 70,000 victims of the Hiroshima bombing are Korean and about 2,000 of the survivors are alive, according to a recent government survey. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 25 (UPI) -- South Korean survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bombing say they suffer from anxiety about their health and face societal discrimination, according to the first ever survey of the group conducted by the Korean government.

According to results made public Thursday by Seoul's ministry of health and welfare, there are a total of 2,283 living Korean survivors of the 1945 bombing. Many of them worry about hereditary or contagious disease as a result of exposure to radiation, News 1 reported.

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South Korea estimates about 70,000 victims of the Hiroshima bombing are Korean. Of that number, 40,000 people were killed and 23,000 survivors were repatriated to the Korean Peninsula after Japan surrendered to the United States.

An analysis of health insurance claims filed by the survivors indicates the group shows a higher rate of cancer and other diseases with no cure.

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Nearly all survivors are in their 70s and 80s. About a quarter of the population reported a disability, and more than half of those surveyed said they are in "bad health." About one-third of the survivors are basic income or welfare recipients.

Kim Ki-nam, a director at the welfare ministry, said more research needs to be done on the second-generation, or descendants of the bombing survivors.

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In neighboring Japan, the bombing continues to be remembered through monuments and institutions.

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Kyodo News reported Thursday the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopened following a two-year renovation.

The museum includes a display of clothing, shoes and other personal belongings of the victims, according to the report.

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