A court in Japan has for the first time recognised dozens of people who were exposed to radioactive “black rain” as survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, even though they lived outside the area hit hardest by the attack in August 1945.
The Hiroshima district court said the 84 plaintiffs, who are suffering from illnesses linked to radiation exposure, were entitled to the same medical benefits as survivors who lived closer to where the bomb struck.
The court on Wednesday ordered the Hiroshima city and prefectural governments to provide free medical treatment to the plaintiffs, who range in age from their late 70s to 90s.
The chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters the government had not decided whether to appeal the ruling.
The plaintiffs were in areas outside the zone, but were exposed to the radioactive black rain that fell on the city hours after the attack.
The plaintiffs had argued that their exposure to the rain, including through contaminated food and water, had caused illnesses such as cancer and cataracts suffered by those who were inside the government-designated zone.