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HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) The Hiroshima District Court on Wednesday ordered the government to pay compensation to three people suffering from radiation-related illnesses caused by the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

It is the first ruling among similar group suits in which the government has been ordered to pay compensation.

The three, who will receive a total of ¥990,000, are among five people the court recognized in the ruling as sufferers of illnesses related to the atomic bombing. The case was part of a series of 47 group suits involving about 300 people who are challenging the state’s rejection of radiation illness certification requests.

The latest case involved 23 people believed to have suffered from the atomic bombing.

The plaintiffs filed the suit demanding illness certifications and ¥3 million for each sufferer. They made the certification requests between 2003 and 2006 and were subsequently turned down.

Last April, the government set new guidelines in recognizing atomic-bombing sufferers in an effort to expand relief and speed up certification procedures. In the latest court case in Hiroshima, the focus of attention was on whether there is a link between chronic hepatitis, a disease left outside the scope of the new guidelines, and the atomic bombing.

Presiding Judge Tomoyuki Nonoue criticized the authorities for rejecting the requests without performing their duties appropriately.

“The health, labor and welfare minister is obliged to look into matters more thoroughly or order corrections if there are problems with the assessments on whether illnesses were caused by (A-bomb-related) radiation,” Nonoue said.

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