Burned in Na­gasaki, led sur­vivors group

Chicago Sun-Times - - NEWS - As­so­ci­ated Press BY MARI YA­M­AGUCHI

TOKYO — Su­miteru Taniguchi, who de­voted his life to seek­ing to abol­ish nu­clear weapons af­ter he was burned se­verely in the 1945 atomic bomb at­tack on his home­town of Na­gasaki, died Wed­nes­day of can­cer. He was 88.

Mr. Taniguchi died at a hospi­tal in Na­gasaki of can­cer of the duo­de­nal papilla, the point where the pan­cre­atic and bile ducts meet, ac­cord­ing to the Ja­pan Con­fed­er­a­tion of A- and H- Bomb Suf­fer­ers Or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Mr. Taniguchi was 16 and was on the job de­liv­er­ing mail on Aug. 9, 1945, when a U. S. atomic bomb was dropped on the city. The blast 1.1 miles away threw him from his bi­cy­cle, al­most killing him. The Na­gasaki at­tack killed more than 70,000 peo­ple. The bomb­ing of Hiroshima three days ear­lier killed an es­ti­mated 140,000.

He could only lie on his stom­ach for nearly two years as he was treated for the burns that ex­posed flesh and bones. He later formed a sur­vivors group and had since led a na­tional ef­fort against nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion.

In an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press two years ago, Mr. Taniguchi peeled his un­der­shirt off to show his scars, to de­scribe his painful past and tell the world the tragedy should never be re­peated.

In his video mes­sage in July, Taniguchi wel­comed the U. N. nu­clear weapons pro­hi­bi­tion treaty, but ex­pressed con­cerns about the de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion of the sur­vivors, known in Ja­pan as hibakusha. “I won­der what the world will be like when it loses the last atomic bomb­ing sur­vivor.”

EUGENE HOSHIKO/ AP

Su­miteru Taniguchi was 16 and de­liv­er­ing mail in Na­gasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

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