TOKYO -- Twenty-one survivors of the U..S. atomic bombings of Japan filed three separate suits Tuesday, demanding the government recognize them as victims of radiation-related illness, AFP reported. In class-action suits filed with district courts in Tokyo, Chiba and Osaka, the plaintiffs, aged 62 to 84, also demanded three million yen (25,000 dollars) each in compensation.

Similar suits had been filed in April by seven plaintiffs in Sapporo, Nagoya and Nagasaki. More suits are due to follow next month in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Kumamoto, press reports said.
The plaintiffs claim they were exposed to nuclear radiation in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the closing days of World War II and have suffered from cancer and liver disease.
"For 58 years, we have lived with the legacy of the A-bombs, enduring all kinds of thing," Rikio Kato, 78, who leads the plantiffs in the Tokyo suit, told a news conference here.
"We will express our wishes to the government, with the help of all of you, until the end of our lives."
The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killed more than 200,000 people immediately or in the following months. An estimated 74,000 people were killed in the Nagasaki attack three days later, hastening Japan's surrender to U.S.-led allied forces.
Should the plaintiffs be recognized as radiation illness victims, they will be entitled to special medical benefits, including monthly allowances of more than 130,000 yen (1,100 dollars) each.
The government has claimed that their ailments were not caused by exposure to the atomic holocausts.
Nearly 286,000 people have been certified by the government as atomic-bomb survivors. Fewer than 10 percent of those survivors have been classified as having suffered radiation illness, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

News Code 20

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