A Japanese court has ruled that it is against the law not to cover the medical costs of victims of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb who live outside Japan.
Under a relief law for atomic bomb survivors enacted in 1994, the Japanese government covers all medical expenses of victims who received treatment in Japan but not of those treated elsewhere.
Lee Hong-hyun (67), a Korean victim who lives in Korea, filed the lawsuit along with the surviving families of two other Korean victims.
The judge said there is "no clause in the relief law that limits the provision of medical expenses only to Japanese territory."
Lee, who suffered radioactive contamination while his mother was pregnant with him, sued the Osaka prefectural government when it refused to cover the costs of his treatment for heart failure.
The Japanese government has paid only 179,000 yen a year to atomic bombing victims who were treated overseas, citing differences in countries' medical insurance systems. The latest ruling is expected to trigger other lawsuits from victims overseas.
Around 2,500 Korean victims of the atomic bombings in Japan are believed to have received treatment here since the end of World War II.
Kyodo News reported that similar lawsuits involving 4,450 victims living abroad are currently under way in courts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.