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Court Rules 84 People Are Atomic Bomb Victims

They were exposed to radioactive 'black rain' after the attack on Hiroshima
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 30, 2020 7:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Japanese court on Wednesday for the first time recognized people exposed to radioactive “black rain" that fell after the 1945 US atomic attack on Hiroshima as atomic bomb survivors, ordering the city and the prefecture to provide the same government medical benefits as given to other survivors. The Hiroshima District Court said all 84 plaintiffs who were outside of a zone previously set by the government as to where radioactive rain fell also developed radiation-induced illnesses and should be certified as atomic bomb victims, per the AP. All of the plaintiffs are older than their late 70s, with some in their 90s. The US dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people and almost destroying the entire city. The plaintiffs were in areas northwest of the ground zero where radioactive black rain fell hours after the bomb was dropped.

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The plaintiffs have developed illnesses such as cancer and cataracts linked to radiation—not only from the rain that fell, but also by ingesting water and food from the contaminated area. They filed suit after Hiroshima city and prefectural officials rejected their request to expand the zone to cover their areas where black rain also fell. In Wednesday's ruling, the court said the plaintiffs' argument about their black rain exposure was reasonable and that medical records showed health problems linked to radiation exposure. One plaintiff who was exposed to black rain at age 4 said more than a dozen people died during the trial. "I want to tell them that we won," Minoru Honke said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government will closely examine the ruling and respond after consulting with related government agencies and city officials.

(Read more Hiroshima stories.)

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