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Atomic bomb mushroom clouds over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right). (Photo: Charles Levy/Public Domain)

Hiroshima Survivors Sue Over 'Black Rain' That Followed Atomic Bombing

Over 40 survivors of bombing demand aid from Japan for severe health impacts

Sarah Lazare

Over 40 survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan are preparing to file a class action lawsuit demanding their government provide them health coverage for the ongoing health impacts of exposure to radioactive "black rain."

The Japanese publication Mainichi reports:

The A-bomb survivors — all residents of Hiroshima Prefecture — are currently not receiving assistance under the Atomic Bomb Survivors' Assistance Law as they were outside the black rain area recognized by the government. They will apply to the Hiroshima prefectural and municipal governments for A-bomb survivors' certificates as early as next month. They expect to be rejected, and plan to file suit seeking a nullification of those rejections.

The survivors say they developed severe health problems, including cancer and heart disease, as a result of their exposure to the black rain—the precipitation, darkened by nuclear fallout, that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the U.S. bombings in 1945.

Over 200,000 people perished as a result of the nuclear weapons attacks and the radiation poisoning and sickness that followed.

As of March, there were 192,719 officially recognized hibakusha, or people directly impacted by the atomic bombings. Norihiro Kato argued in The New York Times last August that "the hibakusha’s suffering is not always given the acknowledgment it deserves."

Kato continued, "Even the Japanese government has abandoned them: Not once has it protested the dropping of those two bombs."


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