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Japan Will Aid Overseas Atomic Bomb Victims

Posted December. 12, 2001 09:21,   


Japanese reporters revealed that the Japanese government began establishing funds to support the atomic bomb victims who live outside Japan, such as Korea and North Korea.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan plans to make a fund of 500 million yen to support the a-victims who live abroad or to pay for the expenses that the victims may spend for the medical treatment in Japan.

Consequently, 4.400 to 5.000 people including 2,200 Koreans and 900 North Koreans, who were injured by the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will benefit.

A-victims in Japan, most of whom are Japanese, have received health allowances of 34,000 yen and free medical treatment according to the `a-victim relief law`. However, overseas a-victims have been excluded from the benefit.

This decision of Japanese government is a result of continuous legal struggles of the Korean victims and by the realization of the Japanese government that it is morally and ethically impossible to ignore the problem.

Especially legal struggles of the Korean victims were influential. There has been 34 `post-war compensation litigation` by the Koreans till October this year since the World War II. The first lawsuit was made by a Korean victim, Mr. Son Jin-Du, in March 1972. He appealed that the `a-victims allowance` should be offered to the Korean victims as well and finally he won the first trial.

Mr. Kwak Gui-Hoon, who couldn`t receive the health allowance after he returned to Korea, won at the trial in 1998. Their wins in the first trial are significant because only those three victims won at the first trials for the post-war compensation (one lost at the high court).

However, Japan does not apply the `a-victim relief law` to the victims but just create a new fund to escape from the international criticisms, while preserving its current position.

Kim Jong-Dae, the chairperson of ` The Pacific War Victims` Bereaved Families Meeting` pointed out that "It is far from the principle that the compensation must be the same as of the Japanese a-victims." A member of Korea A-victims Association(chairperson Lee Ho-Kyung) said, " Minimum 10 billion yen is required for sufficient compensation for the overseas a-victims. The fund of 500 million yen is only for self-proud."

Shim Kyu-Sun ksshim@donga.com