To address the long-lasting consequences of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in 1994, the Japanese government implemented the current in-force Atomic Bomb Survivors Support Law. This substantial policy offers medical, health and welfare measures and even incorporates some reparations-like aspects. Nevertheless, atomic bomb survivors' organisations have severely criticised the government for failing to adequately address the entirety and inhumanity of the atomic bomb damage by refusing to enact the law on a clearly stated principle of ‘state compensation’. As such, we attempt to clarify empirically what aspects of survivors' suffering are most closely associated with their demands for ‘state compensation’. Based on statistical model-based analysis, survivors who deem that ‘state compensation’ should be enacted experience frequent flashbacks of the bombings, disadvantaged life opportunities and economic concerns, among others. We conclude the study by considering the difficulty in addressing the consequences of nuclear weapons use and testing through programmes that approximate, but fail to establish, clear reparations-based measures, such as the current Atomic Bomb Survivors Support Law.
- Even extensive programmes, such as the Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors Support Law, might fail to address adequately the inhumane consequences of nuclear weapons use and testing.
- Policymakers should carefully consider the implications for victims of blurred distinctions between reparations and assistance measures.
- Policies that do not clearly establish reparations for inflicted injuries could fail to satisfy the worst affected victims.
- Academic and civil society communities should ensure that nuclear weapons victims' demands for reparations measures that are clearly based on recognition of responsibility and accountability for the harms they have suffered are given a voice.
Photo by Chandu J S