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Nations reported that more than two hundred nuclear bombs and devices had been detonated in the Pacifi c, but this fi gure did not include nuclear missiles launched into the Pacifi c by the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.1 Britain exploded twelve nuclear bombs on Johnston Atoll be- tween 1958 and 1962 and in the 1950s conducted twelve tests at Monte Bello, Emu, and Maralinga in Australia. Since 1966, France has tested forty- one atmospheric bombs and continued to test underground at Moruroa and Fangataufa until 1996.2

Th e New World Times reported tests at Moruroa in June and November of 1990, bringing to 130 the total of underground tests there since 1975. Th e New World Times also reported Professor M. Hochstein, director of Auckland University’s Geothermal Institute, as saying that the shaft s at Moruroa may contain about a hundred times the amount of radioac- tive material dropped on Hiroshima.3 Nuclear testing in Australia and French Polynesia profoundly aff ects the health and welfare of indigenous peoples. In April 1992, France announced a twelve-month suspension of its nuclear tests in the Pacifi c, with the possibility of extension if other countries joined in a moratorium.4 Although both the United States and France signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, their nuclear- powered (and armed) vessels continue to patrol the ocean. Current global political realignments and the development of nuclear capabilities in Bra- zil, India, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and other countries have compli- cated the confi guration of both the nuclear arms race and the antinuclear movement. Th e Pacifi c Ocean, however, still churns with its colonial and nuclear legacies. Bikini epitomizes these legacies.

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Bikini

On a Euro-American map, Bikini Atoll is located at 165 degrees east of Greenwich or 15 degrees west of the international dateline, between lati- tudes 10 and 20 degrees north of the equator. Th e atoll surrounds a la- goon some 40 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide, and is composed of twenty-six islands—Bikini being the largest—covering a surface area of 7 square kilometers. Bikini Atoll is part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, former colony of Germany, Japan, and the United States. Th e re- public is currently linked in “free association” with the United States.5

Th e Marshall Islands became a part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacifi c as a result of Japan’s defeat in World War II. Th e most horrifi c

Shigematsu, S., & Camacho, K. L. (Eds.). (2010). Militarized currents : Toward a decolonized future in asia and the pacific. University of Minnesota Press. Created from sfsu on 2022-10-21 03:56:35.

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