Four years. That’s the span of time the Japanese researchers have set to complete an archive of documents from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings 68 years ago. A search for health records – documents, photos, medical logs – and those that may provide materials for radiation studies began in April this year and is intended to be put into a digital compilation for easier public access. “Materials on the atomic bombings should be shared by all human beings,” said Professor Masahito Ando of the Gakushin University.
The materials needed will be from the time of the atomic bombing until the 1970s, when most of the post-atomic bomb medical development took place for those who survived. However, most of the records are believed to have been taken to the United States. Their existence and accessibility are also in question. Even Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum curator Hironobu Ochiba doubts the existence of a collection of such data. Professor Ando, who is part of the Gakushin’s Department of History (Graduate Course in Archival Science), believes that if such records are collected and “developed, it would greatly help our research for exhibitions and I think it would be significant.”
“Although nearly 70 years have passed since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the whole picture regarding records of atomic bomb damage is not really clear,” the Professor said. As a start, the scholars who are part of the program will inquire and search from U.S. institutions for atomic-bomb related materials including the U.S. National Archives and the Records Administration in Washington. “We are considering setting up a system that enables cross-searching by connecting public data, mainly through cooperation with U.S. institutions.” Although most of the records may be in the United States, others are still believed to be available in the country.