Average age of A-bomb survivors is 78.8 as of March 2013

by Masaki Kadowaki, Staff Writer

The average age of A-bomb survivors in Japan holding the Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificate has risen to 78.8, according to a report issued on July 9 by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This figure, as of the end of March, is a 0.7 increase from the previous year. It has also been learned that the total number of survivors declined by 9,051 to 201,779.

Within the city of Hiroshima, there are 64,302 survivors, down by 2,358 from the previous year, and their average age is 78.3. The total number of survivors living in the other 22 municipalities in Hiroshima Prefecture, excluding the city of Hiroshima, is 27,388, down by 1,538 from last year, and their average age is 80.84.

The number of people who have been recognized as sufferers of A-bomb diseases has risen to 8,556, up 413. As the national government has been sluggish in recognizing such sufferers, voices are calling for the system to be reviewed and for new support measures to be implemented.

Patients with diseases specified in the ministerial guidelines, such as cerebrovascular or cardiovascular diseases, are eligible to receive a health management allowance. The number of recipients of this allowance decreased by 7,983 to 171,013. At the same time, the number of people who receive an allowance for A-bomb microcephaly fell by one and now stands at 20. A-bomb microcephaly has been attributed to exposure to the atomic bombing while in the mother's womb in the early stage of pregnancy.

In the past decade, the number of A-bomb survivors has declined by 77,000. Sunao Tsuboi, 88, co-chair of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization, said, “Hibakusha are aging rapidly now. I hope the national government will give them generous assistance.”

(Originally published on July 10, 2013)