Tokyo, March 21 (Jiji Press)–Matashichi Oishi, one of the crew members of the Japanese tuna fishing boat Fukuryu Maru No. 5, who were exposed to radiation from a 1954 U.S. hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, died of aspiration pneumonia on March 7 at a hospital in the city of Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. He was 87.
Oishi, who was born in the town of Yoshida, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, in January 1934, started to work as a fisher after graduating from a junior high school.
Oishi and other crew members of the Fukuryu Maru No. 5 were exposed to radiation from the March 1, 1954, U.S. hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean when the tuna fishing boat was operating in the area.
Out of fear of discrimination and prejudice, Oishi moved to Tokyo after the incident and ran a laundry shop.
In 1983, about 30 years after the Bikini Atoll incident, Oishi spoke about his experience publicly for the first time, at the request of junior high school students in Tokyo.
Since then, he gave lectures numerous times, mainly at elementary and junior high schools, stressing the need for Japan to maintain its pacifist Constitution and calling for the abolition of nuclear arms. Nuclear weapons “continue to harm humans,” he said, among things.
After suffering liver cancer and diabetes, Oishi collapsed in April 2012 due to brain hemorrhage.
Although he had a problem using the right side of his body, Oishi continued his activity while undergoing rehabilitation, and the number of his lectures topped 700. He entered a nursing facility in Miura in 2019.
Oishi developed a friendship with citizens of the Marshall Islands. He attended a memorial ceremony held in Majuro, the capital of the island country, in March 2014, which marked 60 years of the Bikini Atoll incident, as he hoped to issue a strong message against nuclear weapons.
Oishi also clarified his “decisive opposition” to nuclear power generation, touching on the issue of marine pollution from the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power
Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station in northeastern Japan.
He wrote some books about his experience of being exposed to radiation.