Conflicts & War

Court recognizes ‘black rain’ victims as Hiroshima survivors

Tokyo, Jul 29 (efe-epa).- A Japanese court on Wednesday recognized people affected by radioactive “black rain” as survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb 75 years after the attack.

The ruling from Hiroshima District Court directed that a group of 84 plaintiffs should receive state-funded medical assistance granted to people with health problems from radiation exposure, known in Japan as “hibakusha”.

It came 75 years after the United States launched a nuclear attack against the country on 6 August 1945 at the end of World War Two.

Government support was implemented to cover some areas that were affected by the atomic bomb but the plaintiffs, aged between 75 and 96, were not covered.

Questions were raised during the hearing as to whether they could be recognized as survivors of the bombing because they lived outside this designated zone, a region around 19 km long and 11 km wide northwest of the epicenter of the explosion.

Those who were in the area at the time of the bombing can undergo a free medical examination and if they develop any of 11 diseases or disabilities linked to radiation exposure they can obtain a certificate for free medical expenses.

The applicants were exposed to radioactive “black rain”, ingested contaminated water and crops and developed diseases including cancer and cataracts.

They applied for the “hibakusha” certificate between 2015 and 2018 but were denied it and have filed a series of legal complaints.

Wednesday’s ruling was the first to recognize victims of “black rain” as “hibakusha” survivors.

Authorities for Hiroshima city and prefecture had argued for the lawsuit to be dismissed, saying there was no scientific evidence to support that it rained outside the designated area or that the plaintiffs were sufficiently exposed for it to affect their health, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

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