Japan top court rules 3 A-bomb survivors not radiation disease sufferers

Kyodo -- Feb 26

Japan's Supreme Court rejected Tuesday calls by three survivors of 1945 U.S. atomic bombings to be recognized as sufferers of radiation diseases, which would cut their medical payments, ruling they do not meet the conditions for those in need of treatment.

The health of the three female plaintiffs, who have such conditions as cataract and thyroid inflammation, has been monitored but they were not actively treated for the illnesses. High court rulings were divided over whether to recognize them as radiation disease sufferers.

"To be recognized as a radiation disease sufferer, there must be a special condition, such as a high risk of an illness deteriorating or recurring," which makes the follow-up itself indispensable for treatment, the top court ruling said.

"I worry every day about when and where an illness may materialize," said plaintiff Tsutae Takai, 84, at a press conference in Nagoya. She was 9 years old in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped around 5.4 kilometers from her home.