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Government gives up fighting against Sendai and Osaka decisions in favor of Hibakusha but continues to fight in others


Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Masuzoe Yoichi on June 10 announced that the government will not file an appeal against the recent high court rulings that criticized the government rejection of atomic bomb survivorsf (Hibakushafs) request for certification that they have illnesses caused by exposure to A-bomb radiation.


Masuzoe, however, made it clear that the government will continue with lawsuits now pending by stating, gWe will see what other high courts will say.h He also said that the government does not intend to certify all 305 plaintiffs as Hibakusha suffering from A-bomb radiation related diseases or revise the current standards for recognizing illnesses as caused by atomic bomb radiation exposure.


The nationwide plaintiffsf group, the lawyersf team, and the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) criticized the government response.


Yamamoto Hidenori of the plaintiffsf group said, gWe are glad to hear that the government has given up appealing the cases to the Supreme Court. However, how inhumane and cold-blooded the government is by continuing with cases pending in other courts instead of trying to relieve the continued suffering of all plaintiffs.h


Pointing out that gthe government attitude of waiting for what other high courts would say is tantamount to continuing to oppose Hibakusha cases in courts,h Miyahara Tetsuro of the lawyersf group demanded that Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo and Health Minister Masuzoe meet plaintiffs in person.


JCP Koike issues comment in protest


Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member Koike Akira on the same day published a comment in protest against the government response.


Koike said: gIt is a matter of course that the government gave up appealing the Sendai and Osaka high court rulings. Nevertheless, itfs refusing to overhaul the current certification standards and settle all cases. This is tantamount to neglecting to face up to the reality of Hibakusha and the 60 years of their suffering by turning its back on the past 15 court judgments.h


Koike demanded that the government revise the criteria, recognize all plaintiffsf illnesses as caused by A-bomb radiation exposure, and move forward toward an overall settlement of all cases following the rulings of the Sendai and Osaka high courts which assert that the current criteria for certification is inadequate in the light of the reality of Hibakusha.


Pointing out that although 50 out of the 305 plaintiffs have already died waiting for a decision, the government intends to continue its opposition in four high courts and 15 district courts.


gIt is absolutely unacceptable to prolong the court struggle,h Koike said and called for an immediate relief of all Hibakusha suffering from A-bomb diseases.

- Akahata, June 11, 2008


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