2 billion yen increase in budget request for relief measures for A-bomb survivors

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On August 27, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) announced a budget estimate for fiscal 2010 that includes 155.3 billion yen, an increase of two billion yen from the original budget in early fiscal 2009, for relief measures for atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha). MHLW expects to newly recognize 3,600 hibakusha as A-bomb sufferers, due to the relaxation of the A-bomb disease certification criteria and the acceleration of the screening procedure.

The total of Special Medical Allowances, roughly 137,000 yen a month per recipient, that will be provided to hibakusha regarded as A-bomb disease sufferers amounts to 17.5 billion yen. MHLW is calling for 5.2 billion yen in addition to the original budget formed early this fiscal year. The ministry has raised its budget estimate in consideration of the relaxation of the revised A-bomb disease certification criteria in June of this year and the further acceleration of the screening procedure in the future. At the same time, roughly 3,000 hibakusha were recognized as A-bomb disease sufferers in fiscal 2008 under the revised criteria, about 23 times more than the previous fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the ministry has allocated a reduced budget for Health Care Allowances, roughly 34,000 yen a month per recipient, as the number of hibakusha has decreased due to aging.

Regarding the problem that about 7,700 people are waiting for their screening to be recognized as A-bomb disease sufferers, the General Affairs Division of the Health Service Bureau explains, “We would like to do everything we can to deal with the problem, including enhancing the screening system.”

(Originally published on August 28, 2009)

Related articles
Series of class action lawsuits over A-bomb disease certification is finally resolved (Aug. 6, 2009)