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Efforts are under way to exhume the remains of atomic bomb victims who died and were buried on a small island in Hiroshima Bay.

On Monday, 78-year-old Kazushi Kaneko, head of an association of atomic bomb victims’ groups in Hiroshima Prefecture, visited Ninoshima Island to inspect the excavation work. Two other members of the association also made the trip.

“It’s unacceptable that the remains have been left unattended for as long as 59 years. I prayed so that the (A-bomb victims) can rest in peace,” Kaneko told reporters after the visit.

An army quarantine station was based on the island at the time of the war.

After the city of Hiroshima was devastated by the atomic bombing in August 1945, roughly 10,000 victims were carried to a makeshift care center on the island. Many died and were buried there.

In late May, the Hiroshima Municipal Government resumed exhuming their remains for the first time in 33 years. It has thus far unearthed 76 sets of human remains.

A-bomb plaintiff dies

NAGASAKI (Kyodo) A South Korean man who had sued the Japanese government over medical allowances tied to the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki died Sunday while awaiting a ruling on the case, his supporters said Monday.

Choi Gye Chol died at a hospital in Pusan. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Choi, 78, was exposed to radiation as a result of the bombing on Aug. 9, 1945. In 1980, the Japanese government granted him the right to receive medical benefits when he visited Japan.

This right was invalidated later the same year, however, after Choi left Japan for South Korea.

In 2002, the Osaka High Court ruled against the government, judging that overseas victims should have the right to receive these allowances. Choi was then required to visit Japan again to apply to have his allowance reinstated.

Due to poor health, Choi was unable to travel and entrusted his supporters in Japan with the task. However, the Nagasaki Municipal Government dismissed their proxy application and demanded that Choi apply in person.

He sued the city government in February, seeking to overturn its decision.

Lawyers working on behalf of Choi asked the Nagasaki District Court to move quickly as his condition was deteriorating, the supporters said. The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling Sept. 28.

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