Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations proposes that the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law clearly stipulate state reparations and include a call for nuclear abolition

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

By April 8, the committee established by the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hidankyo) to study changes to the current Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law had completed the second draft of its proposal calling for the law to be amended significantly. This proposal stresses the importance of including, in the purpose of the law, a clear statement of state reparations for the damage wrought to people's lives and livelihoods as a consequence of the atomic bombings. Hidankyo will invite opinions from A-bomb survivors and finalize its proposal at its general meeting in June.

The draft proposal, consisting of six provisions and a preamble, which was not contained in the initial proposal, criticizes the shortcomings of the current law in limiting the A-bomb damage to health damage caused by radiation. The new draft takes a clearer-cut stand in seeking reparations for the A-bomb damage.

More specifically, the draft proposal requests that the purpose of the law clearly stipulate state reparations for the A-bomb damage and the abolition of nuclear weapons with the resolve to avoid producing any new victims of atomic bombings. It also requests that the national government offer apologies to those who died due to the atomic bombings and establish a monument inscribed with their names. Some of the provisions have not changed from the initial draft, such as the request to pay condolence money to the bereaved families.

Some paragraphs were deleted from the initial proposal, such as improvement of the A-bomb disease certification system. The committee decided that calling for improvement of the A-bomb disease certification system itself would be an act tantamount to accepting the current system, which focuses on the relationship between the illnesses and the radiation doses to certify A-bomb diseases, and that this would not contribute to a fundamental review of the current system. Instead the committee proposed the introduction of an “A-bomb survivors’ allowance” for all survivors and a system to provide an additional allowance to the A-bomb survivors in line with the severity of their health conditions.

The proposal also calls for providing better support for second- and third-generation A-bomb survivors as well as easing the requirements for issuing official certificates to A-bomb survivors and applying the law fully to survivors living overseas.

In this draft proposal, Hidankyo decided not to use the term “kokkahosho” (state compensation), which the group had been using since its foundation, but to use “kuni no tsugunai” (reparations made by the national government) whenever the document refers to the idea of state compensation. This change came as a result of voices that advised: “State compensation tends to be associated with only monetary compensation.” Secretary General Terumi Tanaka commented: “We would like to hold further discussions on this matter and ask each political party to take proactive efforts to amend the law.”

(Originally published on April 9, 2011)


Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law
This law was enacted in 1995 to stipulate relief measures provided by the national government, including issuance of the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate, certification for A-bomb diseases, and provision of allowances to the survivors. Hidankyo has been campaigning to amend the relief law so that it would provide state compensation to the survivors, saying, “Compelling the national government to provide compensation for the A-bomb damage will pave the way to ensure that no more A-bomb victims are created.” Since 2009, Hidankyo has been engaged in extensive discussions to further strengthen its campaign to call for the amendment of the law.