Yoshiki Yamasaki, 71, survived the bomb. It blew out all the windows in his office seconds after he dived instinctively for cover beneath his desk. But he considers the most important event of his life to be his rescue of Hiroshima's largest employer, the Mazda Motor Corp., from near collapse more than 30 years later.
Mazda, having bet its future on the fuel-profligate rotary engine, was foundering in the mid-1970s as buyers began switching to cars with good gasoline mileage. Then Yamasaki took over as president, cut costs, increased productivity and put the company back in the black. Today, it is about to open its first plant in the United States.
Now Mazda's honorary chairman, Yamasaki says he supports the antibomb movement's objectives, but has never taken part. He would like to see the city get more recognition for its economic accomplishments. ''Our life will not be prosperous if we think of nothing but the bomb,'' he says.
Yamasaki has never suffered from radiation sickness and says he learned something valuable from the ordeal. ''Because I experienced the bomb and the hard times that followed,'' he says, ''I learned to endure almost anything. That helped during the revitalization of our company.'