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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 26 - March 3  > Supreme Court turns its back on Hibakusha relief
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2020 February 26 - March 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Supreme Court turns its back on Hibakusha relief

February 26, 2020
The Supreme Court on February 25 overturned ruling by lower court regarding two atomic-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) and rejected the appeal logged by one survivor, refusing them entitlement to Hibakusha relief programs by not recognizing them as Hibakusha with A-bomb diseases.

At present, to be officially recognized as Hibakusha with A-bomb diseases based on the Atomic Bomb Survivors' Support Law, the diseases of A-bomb survivors or applicants must be caused by A-bomb radiation and they must be in need of medical care. However, judgement on the latter varies depending on the presiding judge.

After the top court decision, lawyer Fujiwara Seigo of the plaintiffs' counsel held a press conference in the Upper House members' office building and criticized the decision for narrowly interpreting the "in need of medical care" requirement and for setting a cut-off point. The lawyer said, "We, from now on, will work on politicians to review and improve the recognition system."

Takai Tsutae, an 84-year-old Nagasaki Hibakusha, has been under follow-up observation for thyroid inflammation. She was judged to have no need of immediate medical care.

Takai and her older sister were exposed to radiation 75 years ago at their home located 5.4 kilometers from the hypocenter. Searching for their relatives, they went as close as two kilometers from ground zero, resulting in them being exposed to even higher levels of radiation. The sister has a certificate of being a Hibakusha with A-bomb diseases.

Takai at the press conference said, "For 75 years, I've been worried about the possible worsening of my thyroid condition. I've also been worried about possible negative effects on my children and grandchildren. I don't want anyone to suffer like me and I hope the world will be free of nuclear weapons."
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