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Japan's A-Bomb

There has been speculation for many years that Japan was working on the A-Bomb. An article appeared in World War II Magazine (July 1995) by Al Hemingway that indicates indeed, that Japan may have exploded an atomic bomb on a tiny islet in the Sea of Japan on August 12, 1945.

The central figure in Japan's atomic research was Dr. Yoshio Nishina, a brilliant scientist who was highly patriotic. He had traveled in Europe in the 1930's and became close friends with Niels Bohr, a Danish scientist and Nobel Prize winner and a close associate of Albert Einstein.

In 1931 Dr. Nishina received his own laboratory at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research. In 1936 this facility built a 26-inch cyclotron. Nishina knew that building a uranium bomb was possible and fearful that the Americans were already at work on such a bomb. In 1937, Nishina had a 220-ton 60-inch cyclotron built. By October of 1940 Lt. General Takeo Yasuda of the Japanese
Army concluded that building such a bomb was practical so by July of 1941 the program was funded. B-29 raids hampered the final work to a point that in early 1945 that some equipment is believed to have been shipped to Konan, Korea, which was not under attack.

Hemingway's source was Robert Wilcox's Japan's Secret War, published by Morrow in 1985 and republished by Marlowe in 1995. In the book, Wilcox recounted a long-forgotten 1946 article by David Snell in the Atlantic Constitution that described the detonation of the bomb And unearthed U.S. intelligence documents indicating America believed the Japanese program had moved to Korea. Snell, who is dead now, stood by the accuracy of his story saying that his source was a Japanese officer who was in charge of security at Konan, Korea. Soviet domination of the region has prevented any further information from being obtained.

Dr. Vic Durrance, Historian (2000-2004)
39th Bomb Group (VH) Association

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