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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 August 1 - 14  > Gov’t should play its role to support A-bomb survivors
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2012 August 1 - 14 [ANTI-N-ARMS]

Gov’t should play its role to support A-bomb survivors

August 6, 2012
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Sixty seven years have passed since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima (August 6) and then on Nagasaki (August 9) in 1945. The bombs destroyed the two cities in an instant, killing more than 140,000 people in Hiroshima and more than 73,000 in Nagasaki. A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha) are still suffering from A-bomb related health effects.

After a string of court defeats, the government in 2008 loosened its standards for giving the survivors official recognition as Hibakusha with A-bomb related ill health. However, as the health ministry was still reluctant to grant certification, rejected applicants sued the ministry for recognition.

In an epoch-making judgment delivered in March this year, the Osaka District Court denounced the government’s decision to reject two applicants with myocardial infarctions and ordered the government to accept their applications and officially recognize one of the two as a victim of an A-bomb disease.

The judgment criticized the present A-bomb disease recognition system as taking into account the amount of initial radiation doses only immediately after the explosions, and ordered the government to comprehensively consider radiation effects from residual radiation and from radioactive fallout as well.

The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) also demands a revision of the present certification system that puts too much emphasis on initial radiation exposure.

According to a 2008 investigation conducted by Hiroshima City, the area that radiation-contaminated “black rain” affected could be much larger than the area designated by the A-bomb Survivors’ Support Law. The government should not ignore the victims who were exposed to the “black rain” outside of the designated area under the assumption that “radiation fallout was not detected there.”

Hibakusha are still suffering from the aftereffects of A-bomb radiation even after 67 years have passed. The government should play its role to support them.

While the anti-A-bomb movement is developing, a movement calling for the abolition of nuclear power generation is expanding. The two movements are pursuing the same goal of preventing another disaster caused by any form of nuclear technology. It is important to work together to stop any more nuclear tragedies from occurring.
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