“In a flash I had a change of heart. Even one precious life was worth saving. Japan was defeated; but the wounded were still alive. The war was over; but the work of our relief team remained. Our country was destroyed; but medical science still existed.
Wasn’t our work only beginning? Irrespective of the rise and fall of our country, wasn’t our main duty to attend to the life of each single person?… Prescisely because we Japanese had treated human life so simply and so carelessly – precisely for this reason we were reduced to our present miserable plight. Respect for the life of every single person – this must be the foundation stone on which we would build a new society.
Our people had been told that they must suffer these terrible wounds to win the war; but in fact they had suffered in order to lose. Now they were thrown into the most pitiable and desperate situation.
And there was no one to console them, no one to help them except us. We must stand and come to their aid. I stood there unsteadily on my tottering legs. And then the whole group stood up beside me. Our courage came back. The determination to continue our work gave us strength and joy.” – Paul Takashi Nagai, The Bells of Nagasaki