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Hibakusha urge Health Ministry to drastically revise system to recognize A-bomb related illnesses


   Demanding a drastic improvement in the government system to recognize Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) with A-bomb related illnesses, about 500 Hibakusha and supporters holding 150,000 colorful paper cranes on December 4 took part in an action to encircle the Health Ministry that was organized by the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo).


   The governmentfs repeated defeats in lawsuits filed by Hibakusha over the current system have forced the government to review the criteria to recognize the illnesses. The Health Ministry and ruling parties are expected to put forward a proposal before the end of this year.


   Participants later in the day held a rally calling for victory in the Hibakushafs concerted lawsuits as well as a world free of nuclear weapons.


   Nihon Hidankyo representative Tohei Nori in his speech said that efforts made by Hibakusha and supporters have created great momentum for the revision of the criteria, but that the Health Ministryfs discussion on the revision is far from meeting the demands of Hibakusha.


   Taka Hiroshi, Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo) secretary general, said, gThe government of the only A-bombed country in the world must embody and represent the demand of Hibakusha and the general public to never allow the tragedy to be repeated.h


   Among about 260,000 Hibakusha certificate holders in Japan, only 0.8 percent or about 2,000 have obtained the recognition by the Health Ministry and are eligible to receive medical benefits.
- Akahata, December 5, 2007



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