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The Treatment of the Specimen of Mr. Aikichi Kuboyama: Controversy on a Victim of Nuclear Test

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Abstract:

On March 1, 1954 the Japanese fishing boat "Lucky Dragon" was exposed by the fallout caused by the thermonuclear test conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll Marshall Islands. On September 23, 1954, Aikichi Kuboyama, the chief radio operator of the Lucky Dragon passed away.
The autopsy of Kuboyama was conducted at first national hospital of Tokyo, Japan from 23:30 on September 23. James L. Hansen, Lt Colonel MC, Deputy Commanding Officer observed the autopsy and shipped the specimen to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology(AFIP) by request of Elbert DeCoursey, Director of AFIP. Since for AFIP, the case of Kuboyama was very important data to analyze the result of fallout caused by the nuclear test, the specimen was preserved secretly together with the specimens of A-bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The cause of Kuboyama’s death has been controversial matter since that time. Medical doctors who treated Mr. Kuboyama attributed the cause of death to irradiation by the nuclear test. Seiichi Ohashi, M.D., Director of the Pathological Department, Tokyo First National Hospital stated in his pathological report, since Kuboyama received, in addition to external radiation, internal radiation exposure, it is highly possible his liver cirrhosis was due to radiation. Scientists who belong to U. S. Atomic Energy Commission and U.S. Military attributed the cause of death to transfusion hepatitis. Hansen stated ”I believe it is high unlikely that hepatic lesion could have been caused by irradiation alone or that irradiation was the major factor in the hepatic lesion”.
On the other hand, for U.S. Military, the case of Mr. Kuboyama was very important not only to deny the fatal influence of fallout by nuclear test, but also as "nuclear test data". In the letter to Hansen on June 6, 1955, DeCarthy said "this case represents a remarkable contribution to the radiation material of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Any further data will be most welcome”.
This report discusses how and why the specimen of Kuboyama was shipped to AFIP in the context of the Cold War and U.S.- Japan relations, and analyzes perception gap among scientists on the cause of death of Aikichi Kuboyama and fallout caused by nuclear test.
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Name: 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions
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MLA Citation:

Takahashi, Hiroko. "The Treatment of the Specimen of Mr. Aikichi Kuboyama: Controversy on a Victim of Nuclear Test" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Komaba I Campus, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p421929_index.html>

APA Citation:

Takahashi, H. "The Treatment of the Specimen of Mr. Aikichi Kuboyama: Controversy on a Victim of Nuclear Test" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Komaba I Campus, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p421929_index.html

Publication Type: Abstract
Abstract: On March 1, 1954 the Japanese fishing boat "Lucky Dragon" was exposed by the fallout caused by the thermonuclear test conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll Marshall Islands. On September 23, 1954, Aikichi Kuboyama, the chief radio operator of the Lucky Dragon passed away.
The autopsy of Kuboyama was conducted at first national hospital of Tokyo, Japan from 23:30 on September 23. James L. Hansen, Lt Colonel MC, Deputy Commanding Officer observed the autopsy and shipped the specimen to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology(AFIP) by request of Elbert DeCoursey, Director of AFIP. Since for AFIP, the case of Kuboyama was very important data to analyze the result of fallout caused by the nuclear test, the specimen was preserved secretly together with the specimens of A-bomb victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The cause of Kuboyama’s death has been controversial matter since that time. Medical doctors who treated Mr. Kuboyama attributed the cause of death to irradiation by the nuclear test. Seiichi Ohashi, M.D., Director of the Pathological Department, Tokyo First National Hospital stated in his pathological report, since Kuboyama received, in addition to external radiation, internal radiation exposure, it is highly possible his liver cirrhosis was due to radiation. Scientists who belong to U. S. Atomic Energy Commission and U.S. Military attributed the cause of death to transfusion hepatitis. Hansen stated ”I believe it is high unlikely that hepatic lesion could have been caused by irradiation alone or that irradiation was the major factor in the hepatic lesion”.
On the other hand, for U.S. Military, the case of Mr. Kuboyama was very important not only to deny the fatal influence of fallout by nuclear test, but also as "nuclear test data". In the letter to Hansen on June 6, 1955, DeCarthy said "this case represents a remarkable contribution to the radiation material of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Any further data will be most welcome”.
This report discusses how and why the specimen of Kuboyama was shipped to AFIP in the context of the Cold War and U.S.- Japan relations, and analyzes perception gap among scientists on the cause of death of Aikichi Kuboyama and fallout caused by nuclear test.


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