Japanese retired teacher moved to write about Vietnam dioxin victims

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Nishimura Yoichi (left) shows a manuscript of his book on the damage dioxin has caused to Vietnamese to Nguyen Thi Hien, chairwoman of the Da Nang Association for Agent Orange Victims. Photo courtesy of Phu Nu Newspaper

A Japanese man who has been helping Agent Orange victims in Vietnam for more than 10 years is set to publish a book on the damage dioxin has caused to Vietnamese.

Nishimura Yoichi, 73, a retired teacher from Sumoto, is in Da Nang to collect information and shoot photos for his book, which will be published in Vietnamese and Japanese and possibly translated into English and Korean.

Yoichi told Phu Nu (Women) newspaper that he has spent half of his pension on the book titled "Loi cau nguyen cho nan nhan chat doc da cam Viet Nam" (The prayer for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange), but it was worth it.

He said he learned about Vietnam's Agent Orange problem through the media in Japan, and it is similar to Japan's nuclear bomb stories.

The US army indiscriminately sprayed 80 million liters of Agent Orange in Vietnam to defoliate over 30,000 square miles between 1961 and 1971, killing and deforming not only Vietnamese soldiers but generations of their offspring since.

Yoichi and his wife, a retired nurse, have been visiting Vietnam regularly after his retirement.

They are usually in Japan for half the year and in Vietnam the other half, often spending days on street food and at cheap guest houses while carrying out charity work and activities to help victims across the country.

Yoichi also started a math and Japanese language class at Hoa Binh Village at Ho Chi Minh City's Tu Du Hospital where more than 100 dioxin victims live.

He is now a member of honor of the HCMC Association for Agent Orange Victims.

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