August 13, 2020
The Japanese government has decided to appeal a recent court ruling awarding state health care benefits to people who were exposed after the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima to radioactive “black rain” outside a zone it currently recognizes, sources with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday.
Late last month, the Hiroshima District Court ruled in favor of 84 plaintiffs in their 70s to 90s, saying they should receive the same health benefits as provided to atomic bomb survivors who were in the zone where the state has recognized black rain fell.
The ruling was the first court decision regarding the boundary of the area affected by radioactive rain after the world’s first nuclear attack, and on the subsequent health problems among survivors.
A lawyer representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit demanding that state health care benefits be extended to people who were exposed to radioactive “black rain” after the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima outside a zone currently recognized by the government holds up a sign after the Hiroshima District Court ruled in favor of the suit on July 29, 2020.
The city and prefectural governments of Hiroshima have long sought more assistance for atomic bomb survivors but accepted the government’s policy, the sources said.
The central government will appeal the district court’s ruling on Wednesday, according to the sources.
In the ruling, the court determined it was possible that black rain fell outside of the designated zone and reasonable to conclude the plaintiffs were affected by radiation if they were exposed to it.
The court then determined that the plaintiffs developed diseases specific to atomic bomb survivors due to the effect of black rain.