Katsuya Okada meets with A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima

by Yumi Kanazaski, Staff Writer

On December 11, Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), met with A-bomb survivors and members of citizens’ groups at Workpier Hiroshima.

Members of the "Black Rain Association for Kamiyasu and Aita Districts" chaired by Norio Seiki told Mr. Okada that they clearly remember the black rain falling hard in their area in the aftermath of the atomic bombing and they called for this area to be included in the expansion of the “heavy rain area” of the black rain (the so-called Health Examination Special Designated Area). This expansion would pave the way for residents of the area to obtain an Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate. Currently, their area lies outside the designated “heavy rain area.”

Sunao Tsuboi, 85, chairman of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, stressed, “The A-bomb survivors are growing older. I would like the government to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

Mr. Okada also visited the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF). The RERF budget is now facing a shortfall due to the fact that the subsidy RERF receives from the U.S. government, which is paid in dollars, has decreased due to the strong yen. Misae Sora, the chairperson of the RERF labor union, called for support from the government to deal with the dilemma.

After talking with A-bomb survivors and members of the citizens’ groups, among others, Mr. Okada said, “I take these requests seriously and I will discuss the issues with the DPJ to determine what the party can do.”

(Originally published on December 12, 2010)