By TABITO FUKUTOMI/ Staff Writer
February 7, 2023 at 18:27 JST
Children of atomic bomb survivors express dissatisfaction after the Hiroshima District Court rejected their lawsuit seeking government compensation over their exclusion from medical benefits on Feb. 7 in Hiroshima's Naka Ward. (Jun Ueda)
HIROSHIMA--The Hiroshima District Court on Feb. 7 dismissed a lawsuit that children of hibakusha filed seeking government compensation over their exclusion from a medical relief law that provides benefits for survivors of the atomic bomb.
It was the second time a court has issued such a ruling. In December 2022, the Nagasaki District Court dismissed a similar lawsuit.
The lawsuit in Hiroshima, filed by 28 plaintiffs, revolved around the Atomic Bomb Survivors’ Support Law, which provides a medical-assistance program for hibakusha but not for their children.
There were 118,935 people eligible to receive such support as of the end of fiscal 2021, which includes free cancer screenings and various subsidies.
But the second generation of hibakusha residing around the nation, estimated to be between 300,000 and 500,000 people, are not eligible for the support.
The plaintiffs in the Hiroshima case, like those in the Nagasaki case, said the genetic effects of radiation, such as an increased risk of developing cancer, have been confirmed in laboratory animal studies and other experiments.
They argued that it cannot be denied that children of hibakusha have such genetic effects, and they therefore should be eligible to receive benefits under the law.
They said their lack of coverage under the law was unequal and unconstitutional and demanded the central government pay 100,000 yen ($756) in compensation per plaintiff.
But the government said there are no studies that confirm atomic bomb radiation can negatively affect the health of children of people directly exposed to it.
The government said the details of the support program under the law is left to the discretion of the Diet, and that its exclusion of children of hibakusha “cannot be deemed as discriminatory treatment.”
The defendant asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. The court sided with the government.
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