A Korean hibakusha who on Friday won a landmark suit for overseas survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings on Thursday asked health minister Chikara Sakaguchi not to appeal the ruling.
Kwak Kwi Hun, 76, a Korean survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, made a similar request Wednesday to Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama.
After Thursday’s meeting, Sakaguchi said that government officials had yet had sufficient time to debate the issue, and indicated a decision would not come until next week at the earliest.
Kwak, who has also headed an association for South Korean A-bomb victims, told Sakaguchi that the victims are running out of time and that he hoped the government would make a good decision, given that it decided last month not to appeal a court ruling ordering the state to compensate former Hansen’s disease patients.
On Friday, the Osaka District Court ordered the Osaka Prefectural Government to compensate Kwak for cutting off his medical allowance after he left Japan to go home.
The ruling on the suit — which was filed in October 1998 — marks the first time a Japanese court has deemed atomic bomb survivors overseas as qualified to receive the allowance.
The court said the order by what was then called the Health and Welfare Ministry that overseas survivors be excluded from getting the allowances was based on an incorrect interpretation of the law on A-bomb victims.
Kwak, who will turn 77 next month, said he was very happy with the ruling and called on the government not to appeal, noting that another trial would take a further five years.
The deadline for an appeal is June 15.
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