January 29, 2023

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Japan govt drops appeal against ‘black rain’ ruling

Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that his government has decided to give an appeal against a recent ruling that recognised 84 people in Hiroshima as eligible for state health care benefits for being exposed to the radioactive “black rain” after the 1945 US atomic bombing.

The decision was made “given many of them are elderly and some have illnesses”, Suga told local media on Monday, adding that the government would immediately seek to issue certificates to plaintiffs, the 84 people, to classify them as “hibakusha”, or survivors of the atomic bombing, and consider measures to help other people in a similar situation.

Suga added that the ruling is not entirely acceptable, and later the government will make a clarification in a statement, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement will be approved by Suga’s Cabinet on Tuesday, government officials said.

Residents of the state-designated “black rain” zone are able to receive free health checkups and atomic bomb survivors’ certificates, which entitle them to medical benefits covering 11 specific illnesses caused by radiation.

Since the plaintiffs lived outside of the designated zone, their applications for the medical benefits of atomic bomb survivors between 2015 and 2018 were rejected.

The Hiroshima High Court ruled on July 14 that the plaintiffs are eligible for the aid even though they were exposed to “black rain” outside of an area recognised by the government.

It ruled radioactive rain fell across a wider area beyond the recognized zone, and the plaintiffs are likely to have suffered health damage caused by their exposure to radiation.

The deadline for appealing the ruling was set for Wednesday.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers submitted a petition with 8,440 signatures collected online to the Hiroshima prefectural and city governments on Monday, urging the central government not to appeal against the ruling.

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