• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged support for atomic bomb victims at Sunday’s memorial ceremony but did not say whether the government would appeal a court ruling on recognizing more people as suffering from A-bomb-related illness.

“As there are areas which are highly technical (in the ruling), we’re now examining it carefully,” Koizumi said after attending the ceremony marking the 61st anniversary of the first U.S. atomic bombing in 1945.

He made the comment in the wake of calls from the lawsuit’s plaintiffs for the government not to appeal the decision.

The Hiroshima District Court ruled Friday that the group of 41 plaintiffs should be certified as suffering from illnesses caused by atomic bomb radiation, voiding an administrative action to reject their applications for official recognition of their infirmity.

The ruling was the second decision by a court among a series of similar lawsuits filed around the country by about 180 plaintiffs. In the first such ruling, in May, the Osaka District Court also ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

Both rulings, though rejecting the plaintiffs’ claims for compensation, raised questions over the current government criteria in issuing certification.

During the memorial ceremony at Peace Memorial Park, Koizumi stressed that the government has been providing “comprehensive” support to the hibakusha and that it will continue to promote such measures according to their actual situation with “all sincerity.”

Sunao Tsuboi, who heads an atomic bomb survivors group in Hiroshima Prefecture, said he was not moved by Koizumi’s speech.

He said Koizumi did not attend a gathering after the ceremony in which representatives of seven groups of bomb survivors met with the health minister and other senior government officials to call for support.

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