Top > What NHK has broadcast > 1994 U.S. Clinton Administration Considers Air Strike on North Korea's Nuclear Facilities

Keeping A-Bomb Experiences Alive in Times of Proliferation

Worst Crisis on the Korean Peninsula since the Korean War

After difficult negotiations, in March 1994, North Korea refused to comply with an important part of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, and in June removed the fuel rods from its experimental reactor. Tensions mounted and the U.S. Clinton administration considered an air strike on North Korea's nuclear facilities as one of their options. North Korea responded by saying it would retaliate against any U.S. attack by opening fire from the 38th parallel, enveloping Seoul in a "sea of fire." This became the worst crisis on the Korean Peninsula since the Korean War, prompting citizens of Seoul to conduct major evacuation drills. Thus, South Korean President Kim Young Sam asked the U.S. to reconsider, as it would result in the South Korea suffering tremendous damage. Since an air strike was not possible without South Korean consent, the Clinton administration decided to shift its strategy, sending former President Jimmy Carter to North Korea to open a dialog with its President Kim Il Sung.

The North Korean government claimed that the graphite moderated reactors were not for developing nuclear weapons but purely for the purpose of generating electricity. Though the five countries of U.S., Japan, South Korea, Russia, and China had their doubts, they settled with the "Agreed Framework," which fell short of their expectations. According to this, North Korea would freeze its plans for power plants with graphite moderated reactors. In exchange, an international consortium would build light water reactor power plants in North Korea as they were less likely to produce high-purity plutonium (30% funded by Japan, 70% by South Korea). Initially, the construction was to be completed in 2003, and the U.S. would provide heavy oil via the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) so that North Korea could resort to thermal power generation until the new reactors were built. This "Agreed Framework" was meant to signify North Korea's pledge to abandon its plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Fading Traces/Efforts to Preserve Buildings, Trees and Bridges Damaged by the A-Bomb

With the approach of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing, the number of survivors was declining fast. Traces of the atomic bombing were also disappearing. Out of concern that all traces might eventually be erased, Hiroshima citizens submitted a request for the permanent preservation of buildings exposed to A-bomb radiation. The city authorities responded in 1993 with official registration of surviving buildings, trees and bridges within 5 km of the epicenter. They called for the cooperation of the owners and provided conservation subsidies.

As of December 2004, 94 buildings remained within 5 km of the epicenter, including the Atomic Bomb Dome; 25 were public properties and 69 privately owned.

150 trees are preserved in 52 places within 2 km of the epicenter. The paulownia of the Peace Memorial Park is among the best known.

Many programs made during this period featured survivors in Hiroshima, who volunteered to relate their tragic experiences.

By making and airing these records of witnesses, television, too, strove to keep the memories alive.:

"Japan Travelogue: Storyteller beneath a Paulownia in Hiroshima Peace Park (1993)", "Japan Document: 40th Anniversary of the Return of the Amami Islands, The Post-war Saga of the Bomb-scarred Women (1993)"

Suzuko Numata who acts as talking part

Ms. Suzuko Numata Working
as a Storyteller

Child who hears Ms. Numata's talking

Children Listen to
Ms. Numata's Experiences

Buildings Trees, and Bridges Damaged by the A-Bomb
Buildings 94 including the Atomic Bomb Dome (25 public and 69 private buildings as of December 2004)
Trees Approximately 150 trees in 52 locations within 2 km of the epicenter
Bridges Only 6 bridges remain within 5 km of the epicenter

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