Draft of final report on A-bomb disease certification system: Nihon Hidankyo submits counterproposal

Calls for elimination of reference to “radiation-induced illness”

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

On November 26 the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) submitted a counterproposal to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in response to the draft of the final report prepared by the ministry’s review commission for the A-bomb disease certification system. The group’s counterproposal calls for the elimination of the need to establish a connection between radiation from the atomic bombings and illness (radiation-induced illness) from the current standards for certification. The draft report is premised on making changes to this aspect of the system.

The counterproposal outlines Hidankyo’s stance in detail and states that the elimination of the requirement to establish that an illness was radiation-induced would be an effective way to bridge the gap between government certification and judicial rulings. Similar opinions have been expressed at commission meetings.

The draft of the final report states that many on the commission have said that it is inappropriate to treat cancer and other diseases similarly. The counterproposal, however, asserts that, based on rulings in the past, there is no reason to make a distinction between them and states that, if they meet certain conditions, people who were within 3.5 km of the hypocenter at the time of the atomic bombing should, in principle, be certified for conditions such as myocardial infarction and chronic hepatitis.

Plaintiff groups and defense teams involved in class action suits over the A-bomb disease certification system were involved in the preparation of the counterproposal, which was put together by Terumi Tanaka, secretary-general of Hidankyo and a member of the commission. At a press conference at the Health Ministry, Mr. Tanaka said, “The counterproposal incorporates complaints that have been expressed by the A-bomb survivors over the years, and it should certainly be reflected in the draft of the final report.”

Whether or not the counterproposal this happens will be decided by the commission chair, Naohiko Jinno, a professor emeritus of public finance at the University of Tokyo. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for December 4.

(Originally published on November 27, 2013)