Thirteen Taiwanese and Chinese who survived the 1945 Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bomb blasts filed a lawsuit with the Hiroshima District Court on Monday, each demanding ￥1.2 million (US$14,700) in compensation for refusal of medical services.
The collective lawsuit was initiated by 12 Taiwanese, aged between 67 and 97, including the family member of a survivor who passed away in 2007, and an 85-year-old Chinese man.
Among them, seven survived the Hiroshima bombing and the six others survived the bombing in Nagasaki.
The lawsuit was the first of its kind jointly filed by victims from across the Taiwan Strait.
The victims said the Japanese government excluded them from a medical aid program provided to all domestic victims because they were foreigners.
The government’s indifference caused them mental suffering, they said, citing it as the main reason for their lawsuit.
Among the Taiwanese litigants is Chen Hsin-tzu, a 95-year-old dermatologist who was a medical student at Nagasaki Medical College in 1945.
He was treating patients when the atomic bomb was dropped 700m from his facility. He returned to Taiwan after World War II and took residence in the former Kaohsiung county.
South Korean, US and Canadian nationals who formerly lived in Japan also took part in the collective lawsuit.
The US dropped an atomic bomb in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people. Three days later, it dropped another bomb in Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000. The bombings prompted Japan to surrender unconditionally on Aug. 15, 1945.