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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 3, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)—Foreign Minister Alvin Jacklick said it was not only the four atolls that were exposed to nuclear test fallout from the 67 American nuclear tests at Bikini and Enewetak, but also islands to the southern and western islands in the RMI -- and even islands as distant as Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia.

During the Nuclear Victims Day ceremony in Majuro, he assured a nationwide listening audience that the new government was working on petitioning the U.S. Congress to consider increased compensation and medical care for the Marshalls. A special committee has already been established for this purpose, he said.

Jacklick also said that the new government was delivering on a promise to prevent importation of nuclear and hazardous waste. Last week, he said, bill number 12 was introduced in the Nitijela which, when passed into law, will ban any nuclear waste from entering the RMI.

He also commented on the fact that 15 years ago, when the first Compact and its compensation provisions were negotiated, detailed information on U.S. nuclear testing effects in the RMI was not available. This information has only become available in the past several years, he said.

Bikini Councilman Nijma Jamodre spoke on behalf of the Bikini community, concluding his remarks by saying nuclear test problems were widespread. "It’s not just Bikini, it’s not just Rongelap. It’s a problem for all of the Marshall Islands," he said.

Rongelap Mayor James Matayoshi said that recently released U.S. Department of Energy documents show that U.S. scientists experimented on Rongelap islanders. "Without any authorization, American doctors had conducted experiments involving injecting Rongelapese with radioactive substances," he said.

He joined with other speakers in alluding to the so-called "changed circumstances" issue with regard to compensation and medical care, commenting that Rongelap would be working with the RMI government in the upcoming negotiations with the U.S. government. Matayoshi said he believes that the Marshall Islands will "speak with one voice" in talks with the U.S. on the nuclear issue.



MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 3, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)—Marshall Islander after Marshall Islander took to the microphone at Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day ceremonies Wednesday to say that nuclear test problems are affecting the entire country, not just the four recognized northern atolls.

The event marks the March 1, 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test at Bikini that spewed radioactive fallout around the Marshall Islands.

Representatives of the northern atolls delivered impassioned testimony about problems they’ve suffered as a result of resettlement from their nuclear contaminated home islands, and described a litany of health problems they’ve experienced.

The ceremony, held at the College of the Marshall Islands, was attended by President Kessai Note and other high-level government officials.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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