Osaka not to appeal ruling over benefits for A-bomb survivors overseas

The Osaka Prefectural government will not appeal a court ruling that its decision in 2006 to reject applications from South Koreans living outside Japan for health passbooks for atomic bomb survivors was illegal, Governor Toru Hashimoto said.

The move means the first defeat for a municipal government in a series of lawsuits over the legality of health book issuance and related healthcare benefits for A-bomb survivors living overseas. Similar cases are pending after Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectures appealed lower court decisions.

According to the June 18 Osaka District Court ruling, the plaintiffs living in South Korea applied for health books in June 2006 through their lawyers only to have their requests turned down. The Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law at the time required applicants to visit Japan in person for filing.

The law was revised last December enabling such applications to be filed outside Japan.

(Distributed by Kyodo News on June 24, 2009)

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