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Nagasaki city plans to grant A-bomb survivor's certificate to 3 Korean men

NAGASAKI -- The city government here plans to follow a district court order and issue official atomic bomb survivor's certification to three South Korean men in their 90s, who said they were forced to work in a shipyard in this southern Japan city during World War II, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

The Nagasaki Municipal Government intends to abide by the Jan. 8 ruling by the Nagasaki District Court without appealing against what appears to be the first of its kind. The municipal government will announce its decision after consulting with the Japanese government.

The three plaintiffs had applied between 2015 and 2016 for the issuance of the survivor's certificates. They described being exposed to radiation inside the shipyard or a dormitory while being forced to work at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works.

However, their applications were turned down by the Nagasaki Municipal Government. The city challenged the credibility of the Koreans' testimonies for reasons such as "not conforming to other documents and lack of evidence."

On the other hand, the Nagasaki District Court recognized the three as atomic bombing victims, or "hibakusha" in Japanese, in its ruling. One of the reasons was because the court determined it was "natural for them to lose memory considering their age, as more than 70 years had passed since the atomic bombing" and it does not impair the credibility of the core basis of their testimony.

(Japanese original by Yuki Imano and Sayo Kato, Nagasaki Bureau)

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