Hiroshima agrees on ‘black rain’ victim screening criteria

The Hiroshima prefectural and city governments said Friday that they will accept proposed screening criteria to recognize as atomic bomb survivors people exposed to radioactive “black rain” soon after the 1945 U.S. bombing of the city.

The criteria were proposed by the welfare ministry on Thursday during talks with Hiroshima prefectural and city officials. According to the proposal, people who were exposed to the black rain and suffer from specific diseases will be recognized as hibakusha.

The Hiroshima governments had been demanding that the disease requirements be removed from the criteria.

Their agreement may allow more people exposed to black rain to receive aid as hibakusha. The ministry plans to put the criteria into place in April next year.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said that, while the ministry’s proposal does not meet the demands of the Hiroshima side, “we determined that going ahead with things will benefit more people,” he said.

“The relief system should be put into place at an early date, given the advanced age of those who were exposed to the black rain,” Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki said.

In July, the Hiroshima High Court recognized all plaintiffs who claimed to have been exposed to black rain outside a state-designated relief area as survivors.

Then-Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga did not appeal the ruling and said the central government would give relief to not only the plaintiffs but also people who were in the same situation as the plaintiffs.

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