A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima file lawsuit against Japanese government

by Yuichi Yamasaki, Staff Writer

On October 6, three A-bomb survivors in the city of Hiroshima filed a lawsuit with the Hiroshima District Court calling on the Japanese government to reverse its decision and pay a total of nine million yen in compensation, including consolation money. The applications submitted by these three survivors for A-bomb disease certification were rejected following the relaxation of A-bomb disease certification criteria in April 2008. This is the second class action lawsuit claiming an unjust decision on the part of the government, after a lawsuit filed with the Osaka District Court.

The three survivors with hypothyroidism or myocardial infarction consist of one man and two women, aged 67 to 81, who were exposed to the atomic bombing at locations of 1.2 to 2.7 kilometers from the hypocenter. According to the court claim, this past February and March, respectively, two of the survivors' applications were rejected, while the other's objection to the decision was overruled. The court did not recognize their diseases as having been induced by radiation released by the atomic blast.

In 2008, the Japanese government introduced its policy of issuing A-bomb disease certification in a proactive manner to those with such diseases as cancers, hypothyroidism, and myocardial infarction, who were exposed to the radiation within a radius of 3.5 kilometers from the hypocenter. The plaintiffs claim that rejecting their applications for A-bomb disease certification is a violation of the A-bomb Victims Relief Law.

At a press conference after the filing of the lawsuit, Tsutako Yoshimura, 70, one of the plaintiffs, said firmly, "I need a clear explanation from the government about the A-bomb disease certification criteria."

(Originally published on October 6, 2010)