Support for lawsuits on A-bomb survivor certification Resolution to be introduced at general meeting of Nihon Hidankyo

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

The regular general meeting of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo) got underway on May 3 in Tokyo. During the two-day meeting, participants will debate atomic bomb survivor certification and affirm the organization’s commitment to continue to seek a radical revision of the system. The group also decided to seek adoption of a special resolution in support of lawsuits brought by atomic bomb survivors. The resolution is to be introduced on the final day of the meeting. Lawsuits have been filed by A-bomb survivors whose applications for certificates were rejected as well as by families of deceased survivors asking the central government to reverse the rejection of their applications.

Representatives of about 100 local organizations are attending the meeting. The central government changed the criteria for certification as an A-bomb survivor late last year. Terumi Tanaka, Hidankyo’s secretary general, criticized the move as “unsuited to the actual situations of those who were exposed to radiation in the atomic bombing.” The group will work to implement a proposal it advocates whereby all atomic bomb survivors will be certified and will receive an allowance based on the severity of their illnesses.

With regard to lawsuits, Mr. Tanaka declared, “We have issued statements every time a verdict has been handed down and accompanied survivors when they filed their applications, but I would like to introduce a resolution offering our full support.” No objections were raised to this proposal.

Since revising the criteria for certification, the central government has taken the initiative to review the applications of A-bomb survivors who filed suit under the old standards. Nevertheless 11 of the 14 plaintiffs who were not certified won lawsuits filed in the district courts in Osaka and Kumamoto. The government has appealed the rulings in the cases of five of them.

(Originally published June 4, 2014)