Hibakusha win suit for recognition of ailments

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

HIROSHIMA — The Hiroshima District Court ruled Friday that all 41 plaintiffs in a joint lawsuit should be certified by the state as suffering from radiation-caused illnesses, voiding the government’s rejection of their applications for support.

The ruling, issued two days before the 61st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is the second decision a district court has made on the issue — and it is the second win for plaintiffs. There are a number of other lawsuits currently waiting to be heard.

In the latest case, the plaintiffs demanded that the rejection be voided and that each be paid 3 million yen in compensation.

But the Hiroshima district court rejected the compensation demand.

Critics argue that the number of people recognized as suffering the effects of radiation is too low — less than 1 percent of A-bomb survivors.

As of March, the government recognized about 260,000 survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to health ministry official Kentaro Mitsui. However, only 2,280 people are recognized to have become ill from radiation exposure. Exposure to radiation can cause leukemia and other forms of cancer.

State-recognized survivors are entitled to monthly allowances of 33,800 yen, while people on the government’s list as having a radiation-caused disease can get 137,430 yen a month.