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2009年5月30日 (土)

原爆症訴訟―政府は全員救済を急げ

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 29(IHT/Asahi: May 30,2009)
EDITORIAL: A-bomb disease ruling
原爆症訴訟―政府は全員救済を急げ

To this day, the government has refused to acknowledge that it is wrong despite a succession of court rulings against its policy concerning official recognition of atomic bomb-related diseases. Is this an appropriate way for the government of a country ruled by law to respond to group lawsuits filed by people still suffering from the effects of the World War II bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
 裁判で負け続けながら責任を認めない。法治国家の政府として、これでいいのだろうか。原爆症の認定をめぐる集団訴訟への対応である。

The Tokyo High Court's ruling Thursday marked the 18th consecutive defeat for the government in legal battles over the issue. But Prime Minister Taro Aso, speaking in a session of the Upper House Budget Committee, only said, "We will consider our response, taking the series of judicial decisions into account."
 昨日の東京高裁判決で、政府は「18連敗」となった。だが、麻生首相は参議院予算委員会で「一連の司法判断を踏まえ、対応を検討させていただきたい」と述べるにとどまった。

Of the 306 plaintiffs, 68 have already died. The government should accept these court judgments and end the legal battles quickly by offering relief to all plaintiffs.
 原告306人のうち、68人がすでに亡くなっている。政府は一連の判決を受け入れ、全員救済をはかって訴訟をいち早く終結させるべきだ。

Under the system for state certification of illnesses caused by the nuclear bombings, survivors, or hibakusha, who have been recognized as suffering from cancer or other specified diseases because of exposure to atomic bomb radiation are entitled to medical treatment at public expense and a monthly health allowance of 137,000 yen.
 広島、長崎に投下された原爆の放射線が原因で、がんなどになったと認められれば、医療費のほか、治療中は月額約13万7千円が支給される。それが原爆症の認定制度だ。

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare decides whether a specific hibakusha should be recognized as an atomic bomb disease sufferer on the basis of opinions of an expert subcommittee of the ministry's certification panel.
 認定にあたっては、専門家による認定審査会の医療分科会の意見をもとに、厚生労働相が可否を決める。

Starting in spring 2003, groups of hibakusha whose applications for such recognition were rejected have filed lawsuits with 17 district courts around the country, seeking revocation of the decisions.
申請を却下された被爆者たちが処分の取り消しを求めて、03年春から全国17地裁に集団訴訟を起こした。

The certification standard at that time involved estimating the amount of radiation exposure by using such data as the distance between a survivor and ground zero and then calculating the probability that the survivor had developed the disease because of the exposure.
 当時の認定基準では、爆心地からの距離をもとに被曝(ひばく)放射線量を推定し、病気が起きる確率を出した。

In April last year, the health ministry changed this formula, which had been criticized by the courts as "too mechanical."
一連の判決で「機械的すぎる」と批判され、厚労省は昨年4月に基準を改めた。

But the new criteria cannot be described as based on an accurate understanding of the reality of the health damage suffered by hibakusha. The criteria effectively limit the scope of certification to five diseases, including cancer and leukemia.
 だが、新しい認定基準も、被爆による健康被害の実態を的確にとらえたものとは言い難い。認定の対象を事実上、がんや白血病など特定の五つの病気に限っているからだ。

Even after the new criteria were adopted in spring last year, court after court has recognized survivors with illnesses other than the five designated ones as atomic bomb disease sufferers. The plaintiffs demanded a further review of the criteria, but the government only promised to address the issue after the Tokyo High Court handed down its ruling.
 新基準になった昨春以降も、特定の5疾病以外の病気で原爆症と認める判決が相次いだ。原告らは再び基準の見直しを求めたが、政府は東京高裁の判決を待って検討するとしていた。

The high court also acknowledged applicants rejected under the new criteria as sufferers of diseases caused by the nuclear attacks and declared the criteria inappropriate. The high court also said the government should consider liver disorders and deteriorating thyroid gland functions as illnesses that may have been caused by exposure to radiation from the atomic bombs. The plaintiffs demanded that these two illnesses be added to the list of diseases designated for the recognition system.
 東京高裁判決も新基準ではじかれた人を原爆症と認めたうえ、新基準を「原爆症認定の判断基準として適格性を欠く」と断じた。原告らが認定対象への追加を求めていた肝機能障害と甲状腺機能低下症の2疾病についても「原爆放射線と関連性があるとして審査にあたるべきだ」と指摘した。

The government should now start reviewing the criteria as the court has ordered.
 政府はその言葉通り、認定基準の見直しに着手しなければならない。

Even if these two illnesses are added to the list, many atomic bomb survivors will still fail to be certified.
 ただ2疾病を追加しても、認定の対象からこぼれ落ちる被爆者は少なくない。

They can seek certification based on a comprehensive assessment of their individual circumstances and conditions. But the subcommittee of the health ministry's certification panel includes many members who still support the old "mechanical" formula.
個別に審査して総合的に判断する方法があるが、担当する医療分科会には「機械的」とされた従前の評価方法にこだわる委員の多くが残っている。

The health minister should replace half of the subcommittee members, as demanded by atomic bomb survivors' groups, and hasten the process of dealing with the certification applications from 7,800 survivors.
厚労相は、被爆者団体が求めるように半数の委員を入れ替え、審査を待つ7800人の認定作業を急ぐべきだ。

The atomic bomb survivors' support law points out that many victims of the nuclear bombings continue to suffer incurable damage and live in constant anxiety.
 被爆者には生涯いやすことのできない傷跡を残し、不安のなかでの生活をもたらした。

The law requires the government to take comprehensive measures to support the victims because damage caused by radiation from the atomic bombs is a special public health problem.
原爆の放射線による健康被害は特殊なものであり、国の責任において総合的な援護対策を講じる。

The government should take all possible relief measures for the victims in line with the spirit of the law.
 そう宣言した被爆者援護法の精神に立ち返り、政府には救済のための手立てを尽くしてもらいたい。

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