|Dedication: To compile his book, Nishimura Yoichi had to travel across 63 provinces and cities in Viet Nam to meet AO victims. — Photo phunu-online.com.vn
DA NANG (VNS)— Retired Japanese teacher Nishimura Yoichi will release his 1,000-page book, The Prayer for Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange, this September.
On a trip to Da Nang, Yoichi told Viet Nam News that he collected photos and information about Agent Orange (AO) victims in Viet Nam over the past 10 years.
The book, published in Vietnamese, Japanese and English, tells the stories of Vietnamese AO victims. Yoichi spent nearly half of his pension of US$476,000 on his tireless trans-Viet Nam trips over the past decades.
"I had to travel in all kinds of vehicles across 63 provinces and cities from north to south in Viet Nam to meet the AO victims. I took photos and heard their stories about sorrow, pain and the difficulties they faced due to the damage caused by the toxic chemicals," Yoichi said in Vietnamese.
"The book is my precious treasure, even if I had to spend half my pension on it. I want to tell the consequences being faced by the Vietnamese AO victims and the effects of toxic chemicals on people," he said. Preliminary statistics compiled by Vietnamese scientists indicate about that 3 million Vietnamese people were exposed to the dioxin.
The 73-year-old said he travelled for six months together in Viet Nam to collect information.
"Sometimes I travelled with my wife and sometimes alone. This time, I revisited those people to know whether they are alive or dead."
Yoichi said he got the idea of writing the book when he witnessed a meeting of the Vietnamese AO victims and the Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Yoichi is currently an honorary member of HCM City's AO Victim Association. Yoichi, who was born in Osaka, lives in Sumoto city on Awaji Island.
"Our country and people also suffered the sorrows of war, and I want all people to know that and share it," he said.
He said the processes involved in publishing the book in Viet Nam had been completed.
In 2011, Yoichi donated 77 photos of AO victims to HCM City's War Remnants Museum on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Day for Vietnamese Dioxin Victims. — VNS