The Supreme Court is expected to mostly uphold in December a lower court ruling that rejected a suit filed by 388 people who were in the vicinity of Nagasaki during the 1945 atomic bombing, and have been seeking official recognition as survivors.

Trial hearings are normally held when the top court reviews a high court ruling, but the Supreme Court's First Petty Bench, led by Justice Katsuyuki Kizawa, said Thursday it will hand down its ruling on Dec. 18 following a hearing with representatives of just one of the plaintiffs who has already died.

The plaintiffs were within 12 kilometers of ground zero at the time of the U.S. attack on Aug. 9, 1945, but are not classified as survivors, known as hibakusha, because they were outside the oval-shaped, state-designated zone that extends around 7 km from east to west and around 12 km from north to south.