Atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have asked Japan's health minister to relax the government's criteria for radiation-induced illnesses.
Members of survivors group Nihon Hidankyo and plaintiffs seeking recognition as sufferers of radiation-caused illnesses met Takumi Nemoto on Thursday.
They argued that the criteria, which were last reviewed 5 years ago, are still too rigid to help atomic bomb survivors.
They said many sufferers were denied government support even after the review, and that many of them had to seek court rulings to get recognition of their illnesses.
The government's system provides a monthly allowance for survivors certified under its criteria. The 2013 review added cardiac infarction and chronic hepatitis for survivors who were within two kilometers of ground zero to an initial group of illnesses such as cancer and leukemia.
The survivors group urged the government to expand the criteria's distance from ground zero and list of illnesses so that survivors will need not to file court complaints.
The health minister said that while it's difficult to review the criteria, he would do what he can to improve the situation by hearing survivors' opinions.