Average age of A-bomb survivors approaches 76

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

A report compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, issued on July 21, has found that the average age of A-bomb survivors (hibakusha) in Japan, who hold the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate, has risen to 75.92 years old. This figure is for fiscal 2008, ending in March 2009, up 0.78 years from the previous year. The survey also found that there are 235,569 hibakusha in Japan, down 8,123 from last year.

The average age has increased every year since fiscal 2000, when the ministry began compiling national statistics on the subject and set the initial age at 70.86 years.

Within the city of Hiroshima, there are 73,388 hibakusha, and in Hiroshima Prefecture, 106,415 hibakusha as of the end of March 2009.

The relief program, through which the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificates are issued, was established in April 1957. In that first fiscal year, 200,984 people obtained the certificates, recognized as hibakusha by the central government. The number of people who obtained the certificate then increased year by year, peaking at 372,264 in fiscal 1980. Since then, the number has been declining due to the advancing age of the survivors.

(Originally published on July 22, 2009)