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Remains of Hiroshima A-bomb victim found at research institute traced to 2nd family

Crushed bones wrapped in weighing paper which were transferred to the city of Hiroshima from the research institute Riken are seen in the Hiroshima Municipal Government building on Nov. 12, 2020. (Mainichi/Misa Koyama)
This Dec. 15, 2017 file photo shows the memorial tower for atomic bomb victims in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima's Naka Ward. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

HIROSHIMA -- The Hiroshima Municipal Government has identified the bereaved family of an atomic bombing victim whose remains were kept in the records of Yoshio Nishina (1890-1951), who was a physicist with Japan's major research institute Riken and was involved in the development of atomic bombs during the Pacific War, the city announced on Feb. 22.

    It is the second case where the remains of Hiroshima atomic bombing victims in the records have been traced to a bereaved family.

    According to the Hiroshima Municipal Government, the city received an inquiry in November 2020 from a bereaved family member who learned of the found remains of A-bomb victims in the news. The city said that one individual's identity was verified following a comparison between the contents of an investigative report by a team at the then Army Ministry, which included researchers belonging to Riken, and a copy of the bereaved relatives' family register as well as their statements, among other information. The comparison of those resources showed that the location and conditions of the individual's death, among other details, were consistent.

    Although the individual's name and other information has not been disclosed at the request of the bereaved family, the material at Riken included a note with the name "Iseoka." The bones were permanently stored in the memorial tower for A-bomb victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Feb. 19. Among the bones of some 70,000 individuals enshrined, remains belonging to a total of 2,437 victims have been traced to individual names.

    In January 2019, an employee at Riken discovered a box with a description reading, "Remains of atomic bombing victims (collected in Hiroshima)," while cleaning a facility in Tokyo set to be dismantled due to dilapidation. The box contained bone fragments and crushed bones wrapped in weighing paper, as well as notes with the names of four individuals and numbers thought to be the date of their collection.

    The Hiroshima Municipal Government confirmed in December 2020 that crushed bones wrapped in weighing paper with a description reading "Kikuo Michihara" belonged to Kikuma Michihara, who was from the Hiroshima Prefecture village of Yoshiwa, now the city of Hatsukaichi. The municipal government is still searching for bereaved family members concerning bones with the notes "Toshiro Kinouchi" and "Satoi."

    (Japanese original by Isamu Gaari, Hiroshima Bureau)

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