Court Rejects Claim over 2nd-Generation Hibakusha Relief

HIROSHIMA (Jiji Press) — The Hiroshima District Court on Tuesday dismissed a damages claim filed against the government over the lack of support for children of atomic bomb survivors.

The court rejected the lawsuit by 28 so-called second-generation hibakusha, who demanded ¥100,000 per person in damages.

Those children of atomic bomb survivors are excluded from the scope of people eligible for relief for survivors, in what they claim to be a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees people’s equality under the law.

The plaintiffs argued that many second-generation hibakusha have suffered mental harm due to worries about their health, as the possibility of genetic effects from atomic bomb radiation on survivors’ children could not be denied.

“Although the possibility of genetic effects has not been denied clearly, it is not a common belief nor a dominant view,” presiding Judge Masato Morizane said in the ruling.

It cannot be said that second-generation hibakusha are being treated unfairly and discriminatively in not being legally treated the same way as atomic bomb survivors, and Article 14 of the Constitution is thus not violated, the ruling said.

Katsuhiro Hirano, 64, one of the plaintiffs, said he is “very disappointed that the feelings of each and every second-generation hibakusha were not accepted.” The plaintiff side decided to appeal the ruling.

A similar lawsuit at the Nagasaki District Court ended with a ruling last December dismissing the damages claim, in which the court found that evidence of genetic effects of radiation damage has yet to be established.