US-resident, black-rain victim in her 80s issued A-Bomb Survivor’s Certificate by Hiroshima City: First overseas certificate under new criteria

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

On December 15, in an interview conducted by the Chugoku Shimbun with a city official, it was discovered that the Hiroshima City government had issued an A-bomb Survivor’s Certificate to a woman in her 80s living in the United States as a relief measure for victims of “black rain.” The rain, which fell soon after the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, included radioactive substances. That is the first case in Hiroshima Prefecture in which a victim of exposure to black rain living overseas was recognized as being an A-bomb survivor based on new criteria that Japan’s national government introduced in April 2022.

According to the city government, the woman had applied for a certificate through the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles in December 2021, and the city reviewed her application according to the new criteria. In October 2022, the city granted approval for the applicant to be issued a certificate. The woman indicated in her application that she had been exposed to the black rain outside the area of eligibility for relief (heavy rain area) originally designated by Japan’s government.

The city is also reviewing other applications—two cases in the United States and one in South Korea. The Hiroshima Prefectural government, on the other hand, said that it has not at this point received any certificate applications from overseas.

Based on the new criteria, an A-Bomb Survivor’s Certificate will be issued if the possibility of the applicant having been exposed to the black rain cannot be denied based on the applicant’s testimony about the bombing or the location of their residence at the time, and if the applicant suffers from one or more of 11 diseases, such as cancer, required for certification. A history of cataract surgery will also qualify an applicant for relief. Victims living overseas can submit an application for a certificate to either Hiroshima City or Hiroshima Prefecture, depending on the location at which they experienced the black rain exposure. Those returning to Japan on a temporary basis can also submit an application to other prefectural governments.

(Originally published on December 16, 2022)