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Japan: Korean A-Bomb Survivors

(Dec. 2, 2007) Although Japan's A-Bomb Special Measures Law of 1968 did not clearly exclude A-bomb survivors who lived outside Japan from being recipients of health maintenance allowances, the Health Ministry notification of 1974 excluded them. Forty Koreans who returned to Korea after the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima sued the Japanese government in Japan, asking for compensation for emotional damages caused by the illegal notification, among other claims. The Japanese Supreme Court, on November 1, 2007, affirmed lower court decisions that admitted the illegality of the notification and the responsibility of the state, based on the State Tort Act, and awarded 1.2 million yen (about US$11,000) per person. (Kankokujin hibakusha soshō, 2shin hanketsu o shiji [Korean A-bomb survivor case, the second instance judgment confirmed], YOMIURI ONLINE, Nov. 1, 2007.)