Government appeals A-bomb disease ruling by Tokyo High Court

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On March 25, the Japanese government appealed the ruling by the Tokyo High Court to the Supreme Court. The ruling recognized two plaintiffs in Chiba Prefecture as suffering from A-bomb diseases. This is the first appeal on the class action lawsuits involving A-bomb disease certification. The government also appealed the Hiroshima District Court’s ruling to the Hiroshima High Court on the same day. The court stated that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) had breached its obligations, and ordered the government to pay compensation. MHLW has attached importance to the fact that the Tokyo High Court “assessed” the possibility “on practical grounds” that radiation induces various diseases. It also stated that the court erred in its interpretation and application of the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law.

The Tokyo High Court recognized impaired liver function as an A-bomb disease for the first time in the class action lawsuits over the A-bomb disease certification. After the rulings are issued by the Osaka and Tokyo High Courts in May 2009, the latter involving plaintiffs living in Tokyo, the government will make a decision, upon review of its A-bomb disease certification criteria, whether to include impaired liver function as an illness for immediate certification.

Regarding the appeal to the Hiroshima High Court, the government said, “The ruling differs from the court decisions to date in that it requires MHLW to bear an excessive amount of obligation in regard to expert judgments.”

(Originally published on March 26, 2009)

Related articles
Hiroshima District Court orders first state compensation in A-bomb disease lawsuit (March 24, 2009)
Cirrhosis recognized as A-bomb disease by Tokyo High Court (March 17, 2009)