There are over 4,000 atomic bomb survivors live in 33 countries and territories, especially in South Korea and the United States. This ruling also brings to an end to a four-year legal battle three Korean victims living in Osaka after the prefectural government said it would not cover their medical costs.
“The Japanese government and Osaka Prefecture never agreed to pay our medical bills until the Supreme Court handed down the ruling. I hope they will demonstrate to us from now on that they are capable of appreciating how precious human lives are,” Lee Hong-hyun, one of the three plaintiffs, said in a statement.
Kiyoko Okabe, the chief justice of Japan’s Supreme Court, said the government should cover the medical treatment of survivors who are unable to travel overseas to Japan.
The Japanese government has long been covering the medical expenses for the illnesses and injuries caused by exposure to the radiation of the atomic blasts.
The government had supported the medical costs of overseas survivors in the past, but the service was limited and unable to fully cover the medical bills.
Tuesday’s ruling helps to close a gap in medical fee coverage for survivors, but supporters are continuing to push to eliminate other inequalities like the payment of nursing care costs.