Battle of Okinawa PTSD symposium held at Hitotsubashi University

Battle of Okinawa PTSD symposium held at Hitotsubashi University

Hitotsubashi University held a symposium in Kunitachi, Tokyo on July 20 focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) issues among Battle of Okinawa survivors.


July 27, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Center for the Study of Peace and Reconciliation held a symposium on July 20 at Hitotsubashi University on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) issues among Battle of Okinawa survivors.

Psychiatrist Ryoji Arizuka and Tsuyoshi Kitamura, assistant professor of the Institute for Ryukyuan and Okinawa Studies at Waseda University, gave presentations.

Arizuka, who has clinical experience in Okinawa, said elderly Okinawa residents who experienced the Battle of Okinawa are likely to suffer from the disorder. He introduced cases in which Battle of Okinawa survivors suffer from depression and insomnia in older age. Arizuka said, “A lack of mental health care under the U.S. occupation after the war and the base issues, including noise caused by the military aircraft, contribute to the disorder.” He went on to say, “This rubs salt into the mental wounds, making it difficult for them to recover.”

Arizuka discussed the impact of the disorder over generations. The disorder makes it difficult for the sufferers to care for their children and to give enough love to them. Arizuka said, “In Okinawa the war caused a chronic neglect of children, the elderly and people with disabilities.”

Arizsuka currently works supporting those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. He said, “The victims suffer from the same type of late-onset disorder common in Okinawa,” and pointed out the need for mental health care.

Kitamura said that a lack of medical care after the war contributed to the development of the disorder and suggested that it is important to highlight this issue that society has failed to notice.

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