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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 21 - 27  > Hibakusha win another lawsuit against government
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2007 March 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Hibakusha win another lawsuit against government

March 21 & 23, 2007
The Tokyo District Court on March 22 made a ruling criticizing the government’s method of certifying Hibakusha’s illnesses as caused by atomic bombings as being too arbitrary.

This followed the rulings given by the district courts in Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Sendai on Hibakusha’s concerted lawsuits promoted by the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo).

All these consecutive court decisions show that the judicial judgment requiring the government to drastically change its Hibakusha-related policies is now firmly established.

In the Tokyo suit, 30 Hibakusha sought to have the government revoke its decision to turn down their applications for government recognition of their illnesses as A-bomb related. The court recognized 21 out of 30 plaintiffs as having such illnesses and ordered the government to revoke its decision.

The ruling stated that requiring strict and rigid scientific evidence “goes against the purpose of the Hibakusha Aid Law, which is to give relief to A-bomb survivors,” and that the Health Ministry should take into account actions they took after the bombing and their medical histories.

Before the ruling was given, the plaintiffs marched in front of the court holding photos of 11 plaintiffs who have passed away.

Later in the day, the plaintiffs, other Hibakusha, and their supporters made representations to the Health Minister demanding that the government give up its appeal to a higher court and to drastically revise the government’s certification criteria.

At a House of Councilors Health, Labor, and Welfare Committee meeting on the same day, Japanese Communist Party member Koike Akira urged the government to give up its appeal against the Tokyo and Sendai district court decisions. Pointing out that the government has lost all 12 lawsuits filed by Hibakusha since the 1990s, he emphasized the urgent need for the government to revise its criteria of certifying Hibakusha’s diseases as A-bomb related.

On March 20, the Sendai District Court ruled in favor of two Hibakusha, acknowledging the government’s decision to turn down their applications for state recognition as illegal.

Only 0.8 percent of all Hibakusha has state recognition of their illnesses as caused by the A-bombings. - Akahata, March 21 & 23, 2007

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