Korean A-bomb victim files medical allowance suit.
OSAKA, Oct. 1 Kyodo A South Korean who suffered injuries in the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Japanese government and Osaka Prefecture, demanding they rescind their earlier decision to stop paying him medical allowances because he returned to his home country. In the lawsuit filed with the Osaka District Court, Kwak Kwi Hun, 74, also demanded 2 million yen in damages from the Japanese government, which rejected the allowances saying laws for atomic bomb victims apply only to those in Japan. Kwak left Japan after the end of World War II, but returned in May this year to receive medical treatment in Matsubara, Osaka Prefecture, his supporters said. He was recognized as a victim of the August 1945 atomic bombing and was given treatment free of charge, they said. In June, the Osaka prefectural government decided to pay Kwak 34,000 yen per month for five years in medical allowances, but stopped the payments in August after he returned to South Korea on July 5, they said. When Kwak demanded the payments be continued, the prefectural government explained that the Health and Welfare Ministry determined in 1974 that laws for atomic bomb victims do not apply to those living outside of Japan, the supporters said. The prefectural government said the ministry's decision still stands although it was made before the current Atomic Bomb Victims Relief Law was established, they said. The supporters said the current law stipulates that victims lose the right to receive the allowances only if the determined terms of payment expire or if the victims' illnesses are cured. Kwak told reporters that atomic bomb victims do not cease to be victims just because they live outside of Japan. "My hope is to be treated in the same way as other victims in Japan," he said. Kwak was serving for the Imperial Japanese Army at the time of the bombing. He had been drafted into the army in September 1944 during Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula.