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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 June 29 - July 5  > 6 Hibakusha in Tokyo win court recognition as A-bomb disease patients
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2016 June 29 - July 5 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

6 Hibakusha in Tokyo win court recognition as A-bomb disease patients

June 30, 2016
The Tokyo District Court on June 29 issued a ruling overturning a government decision and acknowledging six A-bomb survivors living in Tokyo as Hibakusha with A-bomb-related diseases. This is another court ruling against the government position in lawsuits of this kind.

The six plaintiffs experienced U.S. atomic bombings in Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 1945. They developed myocardial infarctions or hypothyroidism in later years and applied for official recognition as A-bomb-related disease patients. However, their applications were rejected on the grounds that their illnesses have no causal connection with radiation exposure. In response, the Hibakusha sued the government for their wrongful decision to reject their claims.

Presiding judge Taniguchi Yutaka said that the government should not deny the suggested causal relationship between exposure to radiation and the plaintiffs’ illnesses just because the relation has yet to be scientifically proved.

After the ruling, the plaintiffs’ counsel issued a statement. The statement points out that in Hibakusha lawsuits, courts across Japan have repeatedly overturned government refusals of A-bomb disease recognition. The statement argues that the government should drastically revise the application screening criteria in order to resolve this inconsistency in judgements made by administrative and judicial bodies.

Yamamoto Hidenori, 83, who heads the plaintiffs’ group, at a rally held in Tokyo said that he welcomed the ruling. Citing the fact that the number of Hibakusha who are officially recognized as A-bomb disease patients stands at only 8,400 while there are 180,000 Hibakusha in Japan, Yamamoto criticized the government for turning its back on A-bomb survivors’ sufferings.

Past related articles:
> 5 Hibakusha in Kumamoto win court ruling on recognition of A-bomb illnesses [March 29, 2014]
> Hibakusha disappointed with new criteria [December 17, 2013]
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