“Daigo Fukuryu-Maru” is a wooden tuna fishing boat in deep-sea based on Yaizu port in Shizuoka Prefecture and she has exposed to radiation by U.S. Hydrogen bomb test in Bikini Atoll of the Marshall Island on March 1st in 1954. When she was operating fishing in the sea 160 kilometers east from hypocenter, suddenly 23 fishermen saw flash in west and were struck by detonating sound like earthquake. A few hours later, radioactive fallout “Ash of Death” resulted by nuclear explosion rained on them and fishermen exposed to radiation.
After they have confirmed safety, “Daigo Fukuryu Maru” was remodeled into student training ship “Hayabusa Maru” owned by Tokyo University of Fisheries.
“Bravo” the H-bomb that detonated by the US in Bikini Atoll on March 1st,1954 was 1,000 times of the atomic bomb bombed on Hiroshima. Radioactive coral dust called “Ashes of Death” flied apart and came down on the surrounding sea or islands. Ashes of Death contaminated wide range of the sea and the0 air.
Exposure of fishing vessels
Fishing vessels damaged by the test is not only Daigo Fukuryu Maru. Many vessels from everywhere in Japan went fishing for tuna and damaged. Until the end of 1954, 856 vessels in total have landed a contaminated tuna. There is possibility that many fishermen exposed to radiation, but it not altogether clear.
Suffering of Marshall Island
Marshall Island consist of coral reef located mid-west pacific. The United States designate there as a nuclear test site and had carried out 67 times nuclear test from 1946 to 1958.
Although it is said that a number of atoll including Bikini Atoll and Eniwetok Atoll were damaged, American government is not admit damages of atolls except Bikini, Eniwetok, Rongelap and Utirik Atoll.
Cancer, thyroid abnormalities, dead birth and congenital derangement has been appearing among people in Marshal Islands. Moreover, People from several island cannot return to their home island yet.
Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site
Bikini Atoll was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July, 2010. According to UNESCO, “Bikini Atoll has conserved direct tangible evidence that is highly significant in conveying the power of the nuclear tests, i.e. the sunken ships sent to the bottom of the lagoon by the tests in 1946 and the gigantic Bravo crater. Equivalent to 7,000 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, the tests had major consequences on the geology and natural environment of Bikini Atoll and on the health of those who were exposed to radiation. Through its history, the atoll symbolizes the dawn of the nuclear age, despite its paradoxical image of peace and of earthly paradise.” Inhabitant of Bikini Atoll still can never go back.
Conservation of Daigo Fukuryu Maru
Daigo Fukuryu Maru decommissioned in 1967. She was sold by government to dismantler and left behind in Yumenoshima where had been used to be a garbage dump. The citizens who heard the news began movement for preservation of Daigo Fukuryu Maru and made various effort for it.
In June 1976, Tokyo metropolitan government open Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall, and the vessel has been exhibited publicly.
Wooden vessel Daigo Fukuryu Maru
Daigo Fukuryu Maru was constructed in 1947 at Koza-cho, Wakayama prefecutre as a bonito fising boat. It’s 30 meter in lengh, 15 meter tall, 6 meter in width, and weight 140 tons.
Daigo Fukuryu Maru is valuable as a wooden vessele that engaged deep sea fising in era of food shortages after WW2.
“The Daigo Fukuryu Maru Incident” and “The Bikini Incident”
In our association we have been using the designation of “Bikini Incident” because the vessels that damaged by tests was not only Daigo Fukuryu Maru. It’s not adequate to apprehend the incident in a limited way and nuclear test in Marshall Island lasted untill 1958.