Japanese court denies aid sought by Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors’ children

Twenty-eight people whose parents suffered radiation exposure in the Aug. 6, 1945, U.S. atomic attack were trying to force Japan’s central government to include them in the medical support available to survivors.

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Plaintiff Katsuhiro Hirano (right) and an unidentified lawyer for the plaintiffs display signs after losing a judgement in Hiroshima District Court that sought health benefits for the children of survivors of the U.S. atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. The banners translate as: “Pave the way to backup Second-Generation Atomic Bomb Survivors” (right) and “ Unfair judgement.”

Plaintiff Katsuhiro Hirano (right) and an unidentified lawyer for the plaintiffs display signs after losing a judgement in Hiroshima District Court that sought health benefits for the children of survivors of the U.S. atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. The banners translate as: “Pave the way to backup Second-Generation Atomic Bomb Survivors” (right) and “ Unfair judgement.”

Kyodo News via AP

TOKYO — A Japanese court has rejected a damage suit filed by a group of children of Hiroshima atomic bombing survivors that was seeking government support for medical costs, saying the hereditary impact of radiation exposure is still unknown.

Twenty-eight people whose parents suffered radiation exposure in the Aug. 6, 1945, U.S. atomic attack were demanding that Japan’s central government include them in the medical support available to survivors.

The Hiroshima District Court said the possibility of a hereditary effect from radiation cannot be denied but that there is no established scientific consensus, and the government’s exclusion of the plaintiffs from medical support is not unconstitutional.

Japan’s government has saud there is no scientific evidence showing a hereditary effect from parents’ radiation exposure on their children.

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in 2017 seeking the equivalent of $760 each in damages, saying their exclusion violated the constitutional right to equality.

A similar lawsuit in Nagasaki was rejected in December.

The plaintiffs said they plan to appeal the latest decision, which they called “unjust.”

“It was an extremely cold ruling,” said Taku Kakuda, who was among those suing. “It was as if we were told to prove the radiation impact on humans with our bodies.”

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima destroyed the city and killed 140,000 people. The United States dropped a second bomb three days later on Nagasaki, killing 70,000. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, ending World War II and its nearly half century of aggression in Asia.

Many survivors of the bombings have lasting injuries and illnesses resulting from the explosions and radiation exposure and have faced discrimination in Japan.

Their children, known as “hibaku nisei,” or second-generation survivors of atomic bombs, say they worry about the possible hereditary effects of radiation from their parents’ exposure and that many have developed various cancers and other health problems. They estimate their numbers at 300,000 to 500,000.

Only survivors and those with prenatal exposure who were certified can receive government medical support for their radiation illnesses and cancer checkups. Japan’s government started providing free medical checks for their children in 1979, but cancer examinations are not included.

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