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Japan settles for ¥1.1 million payment to Dutch ex-POW, 95, denied hibakusha care

Kyodo

The central government has agreed in a court-mediated settlement to pay ¥1.1 million in compensation to a Dutchman who survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki as a prisoner of war, his lawyers said.

In the settlement reached at the Nagasaki District Court on Monday, the government agreed to pay the money as sought by 95-year-old Willy Buchel for mental anguish he suffered for not being granted full medical coverage provided to domestic atomic bomb survivors.

Buchel filed the lawsuit in May 2015.

It is the first such settlement between the Japanese government and a POW exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb, according to the lawyers.

Buchel was in a prison camp in Nagasaki when the city was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb on Aug. 9, 1945. He returned to the Netherlands in 1950 and received an atomic bomb survivor certificate from the Nagasaki Municipal Government in 2014.

In the lawsuit, he said he “was forced to continue living while suffering from peculiar health damage caused by his exposure to radiation” from the atomic bomb while being left without the medical support offered to survivors under Japanese laws.

Japan started supplying medical allowances to overseas survivors only in 2003. Until then, a 1974 government notice was in effect that said allowances paid to survivors in Japan would be halted if they left to live overseas.