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Government defies Sapporo court ruling that favors Hibakusha


The Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry on October 3 appealed the Sapporo District Court decision that ordered the state to recognize four Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) as suffering from diseases caused by exposure to atomic-bomb radiation.


The lawsuit was filed by seven Hibakusha. Three of them have already been recognized as having A-bomb related diseases under the new government standards introduced in April.


At a news conference after the Cabinet meeting on the same day, Health Minister Masuzoe Yoichi said, gWhile the government will continue to fight the court decision, the ministry panel on medical care for Hibakusha will discuss whether the new government standards should include impaired liver functions and chronic thyroid problem.


District and high courts have linked impaired liver functions and chronic thyroid problems to exposure to A-bomb radiation. In a lawsuit at the Osaka High Court, the ruling that chronic thyroid problem is related to A-bomb radiation was determined.


Later in the day, the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), the National Group of Plaintiffs in Hibakusha Lawsuits, and their lawyersf group issued a statement in protest against the government decision to appeal. They urged Prime Minister Aso Taro to make a political decision to facilitate an early and blanket settlement of the lawsuit.


About 40 Hibakusha and their supporters assembled in front of the Health Ministry to urge the ministry to give up its legal intransigence.

- Akahata, October 4, 2008


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