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Hiroshima victims outside ground zero receive justice for radioactive ‘black rain’

A JAPANESE court has finally recognised that people outside of Hiroshima were exposed to radioactive “black rain” after the atomic bomb attack by the US, meaning that survivors will receive medical benefits. 

The radioactive rain fell on the city and surrounding regions hours after the 1945 attack. 

On Wednesday, the Hiroshima district court ruled that all 84 claimants, who were outside of a zone previously set by the government as to where the rain fell, also developed radiation-induced illnesses and should be certified as atomic bomb victims. 

The landmark ruling comes a week before the city marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing when the US dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing 140,000 people and almost destroying the city. 

Claimants were in areas north-west of ground zero and have developed illnesses such as cancer and cataracts linked to radiation after they were exposed to black rain, which also contaminated water and food supplies in the area. 

They filed the lawsuit after Hiroshima city 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 their medical records showed they have health problems linked to radiation exposure.

Minoru Honke, who was exposed to black rain at age four, said that more than a dozen people died during the trial. 

“I want to tell them that we won,” he said.

Ahead of the ruling, dozens of claimants walked into the court with a banner reading:  “Certificates to all ‘black rain’ victims.”

They applauded and cheered outside the court following the ruling.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the government will closely examine the ruling and respond after consultations with related government agencies and Hiroshima officials.

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