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EDITORIAL: Pressing need to recognize ‘black rain’ victims as hibakusha

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We urge the state to take swift action in line with a high court ruling that all individuals exposed to radioactive “black rain” in the aftermath of Hiroshima’s 1945 atomic bombing should be recognized as hibakusha. The government has a clear obligation to expedite the process.

But the way the government is handling the issue raises doubts about its commitment to bring full and swift relief to victims.

The health ministry met Nov. 30 with Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectural and municipal authorities to craft new guidelines for the issuance of “hibakusha kenko techo” booklets that entitle the holder, who must be officially recognized as an atomic bomb survivor, to free medical treatment and other benefits.

It was the first official meeting on this issue in four months following former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s decision not to contest the Hiroshima High Court ruling.

The ruling upheld a 2020 Hiroshima District Court that said those exposed to radioactive “black rain” outside a state-recognized zone following the city’s Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing are entitled to the same benefits as those given to hibakusha who were in the zone.

This latest meeting marked........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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