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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 12 - 18  > Hibakusha says they cannot accept new government standards for recognizing patients with diseases caused by A-bombing
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2008 March 12 - 18 [ANTI-N-ARMS]

Hibakusha says they cannot accept new government standards for recognizing patients with diseases caused by A-bombing

March 18, 2008
Atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Hibakusha) said that they cannot accept the new standards approved by a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel for recognizing patients with A-bomb related diseases.

The new standards were finalized on March 17.

At a news conference on the same day, a Hibakusha said, “The health ministry does not admit that it has been wrong to have abandoned so many Hibakusha its plan is far from an overhaul which would take into consideration the actual extent of illnesses attributable to the atomic bombings.

The main part of the standards used to recognize patients as eligible to receive health allowances has so far been an unscientific “probability” theory. The new standards will apply only to cases that need fast processing of applications because the “probability” theory has mechanically used a certain distance from the hypocenter.

Under the new standards, Hibakusha with any of five designated diseases (cancer, leukemia, irradiation cataract, hyperparathyroidism, and radiation-induced heart infarction) should be recognized as patients with A-bomb diseases, if they were exposed to radiation within a 3.5 km radius from the hypocenter in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 or Nagasaki on August 9. Hibakusha who entered areas within 2 km from the hypocenter within a 100-hour period after the A-bombings or who stayed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for about a week within 2 weeks after the atomic bombing will also be recognized.

The cases of those who do not meet these standards will be examined comprehensively on a case-by-case basis, but the standards are not made clear.

The preamble of the new standards states that processing the recognition will be carried out in accordance with Hibakusha’s actual suffering.

The panel chair, however, justified the past recognition system by saying, “I understand that the existing standards for the assessment of applications have not necessarily been applied without considering the actual conditions of applicants.”

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said, “If the health ministry continues to fail to confirm the need to relieve Hibakusha based on reflections on the existing system, the ministry may repeat the same mistake of discriminating against many Hibakusha.”
- Akahata, March 18, 2008
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