It is estimated that about 30 thousands of Koreans had survived from A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, and more than 20 thousands returned to Korea, while differently argued. In 1965 Korea-Japan Agreement on the settlement of compensation problems, the two governments agreed to settle the problems in exchange for economic aid at the amount of $ 500 million including $200 million credit loan.
As a consequence, they had been neglected for decades in tragic circumstances without receiving appropriate assistance. Efforts to recover and respect their basic human rights started among Japanese grassroots NGOs, and major improvements have been made from the court cases filed by grassroots organizations of the two countries.
These efforts carry multi-layered symbolic significances in the contemporary global affairs. First, the issue pertains to the recovery and respect for basic human rights. Second, it represents both friction and cooperation in the Korea-Japan relations, and the Korea-Japan grassroots cooperation deserves closer attention. Third, final settlement is pending the dissolution of the regional Cold War and post-war structure of international politics surrounding the Korean peninsula. Finally, they have been serving as the witness and symbol of the anti-nuclear peace movement and nuclear power plant controversy.
In spite of the pragmatic and symbolic significance, the studies on this issue are rare. When compared to Korea, Japan has a larger number of systematic studies. Early in 70-80's there were a lot of studies including several books of the in-depth theoretical reflections on the issue. These works of humanitarian relief as a primary perspective were extended to the criticisms of colonial conquest and reparation issues, and later to the grassroots cooperation and peaceful solidarity issues. Since the 1990s, the studies in Korea broadened the scope to the issues of state neglect and responsibility of relevant countries including Korea, and the 2nd generation problems of the Korean residents.
This dissertation argues for the necessity of restoration of whole picture regarding the Korean A-bomb damages, especially of their lives during the two decades from 1946 until 1965 by carefully analyzing survey data and testimonials. This research also pays a close attention to one unique phenomenon of the grassroots cooperation for its implications of Korea-Japan reconciliation.