Monday, April 11, 2011


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How many people died as a result of the atomic bombings?
Deaths were caused by the atomic bombings as well as later deaths due to the radiation exposure. The total number of deaths is not known precisely because the records were destroyed. There is an estimate of the total deaths that took place within two to four months after the bombings took place.

Table Estimated population size and number of acute
(within two to four months) deaths in Hiroshima
and Nagasaki after the atomic bombings.

Estimated city population at the time of the bombings
Estimated number of acute deaths
340,000-350,000 persons
90,000166,000 persons
250,000-270,000 persons
60,00080,000 persons

  1. How many cancers in atomic-bomb survivors are attributable to radiation?
  • Cancer death to radiation exposure is higher in the exposed areas near the hypocenter. Nearly half of the leukemia deaths and about 10% of cancers are due to radiation exposure.

  1. Are radiation-induced cancers still occurring among atomic-bomb survivors?
  • Cancers due to radiation are still occurring among the A-bomb survivors. The risk of leukemia, seen especially among children, was highest during the first ten years after exposure to radiation of the bomb, but has decreased over time and has now virtually disappeared. Risk of cancers other than leukemia seems likely to persist throughout the lifetime of the survivors.

  1. What health effects other than cancer have been seen among the atomic-bomb survivors? 
  • There has been a relationship between radiation and deaths from causes other than cancer. A total of 18,049 non-cancer deaths occurred between 1950 and 1997 among the 49,114 persons that were detected with radiation in their bodies. The risk for non-cancer deaths is considerably smaller than that for cancer deaths, but because non-cancer causes consist of a larger fraction of human deaths, the total number of estimated radiation exposed non-cancer deaths is about 50-100% of the number of estimated radiation-related cancer deaths. Researches have been made in which they analyzed the relationship between radiation exposure and people whom had non-cancer disorder. Statistically there was more risk for those who were detected with uterine myoma, chronic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis, thyroid disease and cardiovascular disease.
    The results showed that the thyroid gland in young people was more sensitive to radiation not only in the development of thyroid cancer, but also in the possibility of the development of non-malignant thyroid disorders.
    Cataracts are another condition related to radiation. Symptoms can appear as early as one or two years following high exposure and many years after exposure to lower doses. Some non cancer diseases may be associated with altered immune functions in survivors. 

  1. What percentage of the original atomic-bomb survivor study population is still alive?
As of 2007, about 40% of the RERF study population was still living, and more than 90% of the survivors exposed under the age of 10 were still living. 
As of 2007, the average age of the RERF study participants was 74 years.

  1. Are Hiroshima and Nagasaki still radioactive?

  1. Why was Hiroshima "targeted," and not Tokyo? 
    Many say that it was one of the targets because no one had heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and no one knew anyone from there. Most world maps from before WWII do not even mention these cities at all. 

  1. How far did the damage of the atomic bomb reach?
     The area within a radius 2 km from the hypocenter was reduced to ashes. It was reported that even window panes at the point of 27 km were broken. The damage expanded to a wider area because of black rain which contained radioactivity from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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