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Hiroshima 'black rain' plaintiffs start petition urging gov't to shelve appeal

Masaaki Takano (foreground, left), head of the plaintiffs' group, is seen calling for signatures at a news conference at the Hiroshima Bar Association hall in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, on July 20, 2021. Yoshinobu Masuda is seen participating remotely. (Mainichi/Misa Koyama)

HIROSHIMA -- Plaintiffs who claimed exposure to radioactive "black rain" that fell after the Hiroshima atomic bombing and whose damage to their health saw a high court recognize them as hibakusha -- atomic bomb survivors -- are now calling for signatures to get the central government to provide support and refrain from appealing.

    On July 14, the Hiroshima High Court recognized all 84 people exposed to black rain outside areas subject to government aid as hibakusha eligible for benefits. The plaintiffs and their supporters are calling for signatures on petition website to stop the government trying to overturn the ruling.

    Connected individuals including head of the plaintiffs' group Masaaki Takano, 83, revealed at a July 20 news conference in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, that 2,169 signatures had been received as of 4 p.m. that day. They plan to collect signatures until July 25, and submit them to Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki, and health minister Norihisa Tamura on July 26. The appeal filing deadline is July 28.

    Yoshinobu Masuda, 97, former head of the research office at the Meteorological Research Institute of the Japan Meteorological Agency, initiated the petition. He announced the results of an independent survey in 1989 showing the extent of black rainfall as about four times larger than previously thought. He said online, "Many are still suffering. I sincerely ask for your cooperation in signing the petition so that we can truly see the final victory."

    Lawyers announced that another plaintiff had died on July 17. This brings the total plaintiffs who have passed away without seeing the lawsuit resolved to 19. Plaintiff Seiji Takato, 80, said, "I can't wait even one more day. I want this case settled."

    To sign the petition, please visit at

    (Japanese original by Misa Koyama, Hiroshima Bureau)

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