Hiroshima governor, mayor to ask PM Suga to abandon appeal over 'black rain' ruling
HIROSHIMA -- Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui decided to meet Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the evening of July 26 to request that the national government not file an appeal against a Hiroshima High Court ruling that recognized 84 people who were exposed to "black rain" that fell following the 1945 atomic bombing of the city as hibakusha, or A-bomb survivors.
The central government had asked the prefectural and municipal governments to appeal against the high court's ruling and negotiations between them had been continuing.
The Hiroshima prefectural and municipal governments, which screens A-bomb survivors and issues them with handbooks granting them access to care benefits, had contested the lawsuit alongside the central government as the party in charge of the law.
The lawsuit was brought by 84 men and women residing in Hiroshima. On July 14, the Hiroshima High Court supported a ruling in the Hiroshima District Court that ordered hibakusha health handbooks to be issued to all 84 plaintiffs, dismissing an appeal by the central government and the prefectural and municipal governments. The court said that even if the plaintiffs didn't have 11 specific illnesses assumed to be associated with the atomic bombing, if it could be proven that they were exposed to "black rain" (rain contaminated with radioactive substances), and outlined a scope for relief broader than that of the district court ruling.
Matsui visited Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Norihisa Tamura on July 16 and asked the central government to abandon an appeal. However, an official from the ministry visited the city on July 23 indicating that the government intended to appeal, and it had been decided that negotiations would continue. The deadline for filing an appeal against the high court ruling is July 28.
(Japanese original by Misa Koyama and Isamu Gari, Hiroshima Bureau)
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