By the end of 1945, the number of those who died from effects of their exposure to the A-Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came to 140,000 in Hiroshima, 70,000 in Nagasaki, which made the total of 210,000. Indeed, an unimaginable number of people were sacrificed by the A-Bombings.
It is not widely known, but this number includes twenty-one Allied POWs, including one Dutch soldier who died on his way to return home to the Netherlands. Twelve were in Hiroshima and nine were in Nagasaki. The POW death rate by the A-Bombings is one in 10,000. Ironically, the Pacific War included cruel fates in that some POWs were killed by the new weapons of their own Friendly Forces.
However, although the Allied forces had carried out the investigation on the POWs’ death by A-Bombings, they did not make any of the materials open to the public. For a long time after the war, the facts were hidden in darkness. No bereaved families of the US, the UK or the Netherlands were informed that their loved ones had been killed by the A-Bombings. There were some, who first learned it when I found and informed the bereaved families.
Even in Japan most people do not know about the deaths of the Allied POWs by the A-Bombings. As one of the hibakusha myself, I wanted to let the next generations know about the Allied POWs who died inconspicuously, how vexed a death each one of them must have died, not focusing just on the U.S. POWs but also shedding light on British and Dutch POWs as well. My unexpected encounter with Dr. Cartwright, the former captain of the Lonesome Lady, through which I could strongly realize how awful war is and what a blessing to be able to enjoy peace, might have further strengthened this wish of mine. I have written that in this book, though just part of it.
I have been assisted by so many people in writing this book. In carrying out the research on the POWs who were killed by the A-Bombings, I have asked hundreds of people for help. I asked people of the US, the UK and the Netherlands to locate the bereaved families of those POWs. Including the number of such people, it must easily be over a thousand who helped me.
I would like to extend my special thanks to Dr. Paul S. Satoh, who introduced me to the Veterans Association of the 494th Bomber Squadron, Mr. Toru Fukubayashi, a historian in Kyoto, Ms. Taeko Sasamoto in Yokohama, and Ms. Nobuko Kamata of the Nagasaki Peace Institute, who made it possible for me to obtain various materials in English. I also would like to thank Mr. Yoshiharu Ushjima of the publishing companies of Ushio Books and Kojin-sha, Mrs. Izmi Ando of Bungei-Shunju, and Mr. Motoki Yamamuro, a documentary writer, all of whom gave me a chance for publication.
The media people graciously helped me. I extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Tomoki Deyama of the NHK, Mr. Koichi Toshi of the RCC, Mr. Juinichiro Okada of the HTV, Mr. Kunihiko Sakurai of the Chogoku Newspaper, Mr. Tsukasa Fuke of the Asahi Newspaper, Mr. Ken Uzuka of the Mainichi Newspaper, Ms. Akemi Ari of the Yomiuri Newspaper, Mr. Kentaro Abe of the Nikkei Newspaper, Mr. Kenichiro Nishimoto of the Kyodo Press, Mr. Richard Lloyd Parry of the Times, Mr. Menzo Williams of the Telegraph, Ms. Chiyomi Sumida of the Stars and Stripes.
The Embassies of the US, the UK and the Netherlands, together with the Defense Ministries of these three countries, have graciously helped me with my research and I thank them all wholeheartedly.
I received willing cooperation by universities and other research institutes. In particular, Hiroshima University and Kanazawa University examined the radioactivity of the POW identification tags, which are reported to have been found in the safe installed in the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters. I gratefully thank Dr. Masaharu Hoshi, and Dr. Kenichi Tanaka of Hiroshima University, and Dr. Kazuhisa Komura of Kanazawa University.
Lastly but not least, I cannot thank enough the interpreters Ms. Atsuko Shigesawa, Ms. Yasuko Nakai, and Ms. Yoko Kawakami, an instructor of colored pencil drawing, M. Yuzuru Katoh who drew POWs to the effect of photographs, Mr. Koshi Kobayashi, who kindly helped me with POW materials, and Mr. Eijiro Iwahara, who showed me enormous amount of materials about the contemporary and modern history.
Finally, let me add here that Mr. Hitoshi Suenaga, the owner of the building that stands at the former site of the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters, passed away on April 4, 2008, at the age of ninety-seven. Among more than 300 memorials built in Hiroshima, the only Memorial for the Allied POWs is established at the backside of the building owned by him. Responding to my request, Mr. Suenaga amiably allowed placing the Memorial Plaque here. (The rear side of the Takara Blg, 12-8, Motoi-machi, Naka-ku) I will always appreciate his kindness. May his soul rest in peace.
From Chapter 5, The words written by Dr. Thomas Cartwright, which are engraved in the memorial Plaque on the building at the former site of the Chogoku Military Police Headquarters: