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Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

Health top worry of hibakusha both in Japan, overseas: survey

Kyodo News

The majority of hibakusha living inside and outside of Japan have anxieties about their health and that of their family members, according to a recent government survey.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has been conducting the survey every 10 years on atomic-bomb survivors living in Japan.

The survey, conducted by the ministry in fiscal 2005, showed that health topped the list of concerns among the survivors in Japan, at 54.4 percent, followed by living through old age at 36.3 percent and economic hardships at 13.1 percent. The tendency is similar for survivors abroad, it said.

In Japan, about 48,700 survivors responded to the poll. About 20 percent of them had a job, with households having less than ¥1 million annual income accounting for 11.8 percent and those with ¥1 million to ¥3 million for 36.4 percent.

Those receiving social welfare payments accounted for 1.7 percent, higher than the national average of 1.2 percent. Among the some 37,000 survivors who are not in a hospital or in assisted-living facilities, 33.4 percent said they need help or someone to watch over them in their everyday lives.

For the first time, the survey was conducted on atomic-bomb survivors living outside Japan. A total of 2,500 responses were received from survivors living overseas.

Asked why it took about five years before the results were released, the ministry said collaborating and compiling all the data took time.

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