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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 17 - 23  > Hiroshima High Court overturns lower court decision and recognizes 5 Hibakusha as A-bomb disease patients
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2020 June 17 - 23 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Hiroshima High Court overturns lower court decision and recognizes 5 Hibakusha as A-bomb disease patients

June 23, 2020

The Hiroshima High Court on June 22 overturned a lower court decision and issued a ruling recognizing five of the eleven A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) as A-bomb disease patients while rejecting claims from the remaining six.

The eleven Hibakusha claimed that the national government unfairly dismissed their application for recognition of their illnesses as A-bomb related. They launched a court battle to demand the overturning of the government decision. Their demand was turned down by a district court and the plaintiffs appealed to the high court.

The high court ruling pointed out that the five plaintiffs were exposed to radiation at a very young age when they were exceptionally sensitive to it and acknowledged that it is reasonable to assume that their diseases, such as hypothyroidism and acute myocardial infarction, were caused by radiation exposure and therefore are A-bomb related.

At a rally held after the ruling, lawyer Nikoku Noriaki on behalf of the plaintiffs’ legal team said that the high court judgement reflects the Hibakusha’s stance to some extent. He added, “Seventy-five years have passed since Hibakusha were exposed to A-bomb radiation and their average age exceeds 83. The issue of A-bomb disease recognition must be solved before they die.”

Naito Toshiko, who heads the plaintiffs’ group, said, “It is disappointing that some of the plaintiffs did not receive the official recognition, but the ruling is at least a step forward,” expressing her determination to support plaintiffs in similar court battles across the country.

Past related articles:
> Supreme Court turns its back on Hibakusha relief [February 26, 2020]
> Hiroshima district court rejects Hibakusha’s demand for recognition as A-bomb disease patients [November 29, 2017]
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