HIROSHIMA – A group of residents from Hiroshima Prefecture have filed a class action lawsuit over health damage from their exposure to so-called black rain following the 1945 atomic bombing of the city.
In the suit, filed with Hiroshima District Court on Wednesday, 64 plaintiffs have demanded that the Hiroshima city and prefectural governments expand the zone in which they can be recognized as victims of the atomic bombing in order for them to receive government-funded medical support.
Currently, people are eligible for the certificates if they were exposed to radioactive materials in an area northwest of the epicenter about 19 km long and 11 km wide.
The area is designated by the central government under the atomic bomb survivors assistance law.
However, the city and prefectural governments have rejected applications for certificates for people who were exposed to black rain outside of this zone, according to the suit and other accounts.
In 2010, the prefectural and city governments asked the central government to expand the area. But an advisory panel at the welfare ministry turned down the request in July 2012, saying that no rational reason for an expansion could be found.
Masayuki Matsumoto, the 90-year-old deputy leader of the plaintiff group, told a news conference that a court settlement was needed as many victims had died.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said in a statement that the plaintiffs had a compelling reason to seek a court resolution.