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Supreme Court rejects claims of 3 atomic bomb survivors via The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun)

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Supreme Court rejected Tuesday claims by three survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for certification as so-called atomic-bomb disease sufferers.

The top court overturned Hiroshima High Court and Nagoya High Court rulings, both in 2018, that recognized a 75-year-old woman with cataracts and an 84-year-old woman with chronic thyroiditis, respectively, as atomic-bomb disease sufferers eligible for ample state financial assistance for medical treatment. The highest court, meanwhile, upheld a 2019 Fukuoka High Court ruling that turned down a similar claim by an 82-year-old woman with cataracts.

Disputed in the lawsuits against the national government was whether the plaintiffs were in need of medical treatment, a condition for the certification.

The plaintiffs were visiting hospitals to receive follow-up examinations, but the government argued that they were not undergoing active treatment to improve their symptoms.

Noting that certified atomic-bomb disease sufferers are eligible for especially generous support from the government compared to other survivors, or hibakusha, the top court concluded that it cannot be said that the three are in need of medical treatment just because they are visiting hospitals for monitoring their symptoms.


For the certification, not only the need for medical treatment but exposure to radiation has been taken into account. The ministry was criticized by the top court in a 2000 ruling for mechanically applying radiation doses when screening atomic bomb survivors eligible for the medical treatment benefits.

Read more.

◇For information on the 2000 Supreme Court ruling which granted a Nagasaki survivor certification, see here.

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5 Responses

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  1. nfield says

    This article cryptically refers to a 2000 Supreme Court ruling in which the health ministry was criticized for “mechanically applying radiation doses.” The reader would be forgiven for thinking the ministry had learned its lesson and stopped “mechanically” applying abstract standards, to the benefit of long-suffering survivors. Quite the opposite happened. The ministry has come up with an exquisitely narrow notion of what constitutes “medical care” and will no doubt seek to apply it mechanically henceforth.

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