Hiroshima 'black rain' survivors apply for aid

A group of 217 people has applied for certification as survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which gives them free medical care.

They filed their applications at the municipal offices of Hiroshima and surrounding areas on Monday.

On August 6, 1945, immediately after the bombing, they were exposed to "black rain" that contained radioactive materials emitted by the bomb.

At the time of the bombing the 217 people were outside a government-designated zone that would have allowed them to receive medical benefits reserved for survivors.

In July, the Hiroshima High Court ordered the central government to issue an atomic bomb survivor health booklet to a group of plaintiffs who experienced the rain outside the area, making them eligible for free medical care.

The government has also said it plans to recognize those who were exposed to the rain but didn't join the lawsuit.

The 217 people who applied for certification on Monday were not involved in the suit.

An 80-year-old applicant residing in Hiroshima City said she was exposed to the black rain when she was 4 years old.

She said she wants authorities to issue the certificate as soon as possible.

Hiroshima City official Shishido Chiho said the central government has yet to present concrete criteria for relief measures but that the city will screen the applications as far as it can.