The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a suit filed by people who were in the vicinity of Nagasaki at the time of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing and seeking official recognition as atomic bomb survivors.

While turning down recognition of the 387 people as victims, the top court found one plaintiff who died after the suit was lodged could have been exposed to radiation after entering areas affected by the attack and sent his case back to the Nagasaki District Court.

The plaintiffs, who claimed they were within 12 kilometers of ground zero at the time of the atomic bomb attack on Aug. 9, 1945, are not classified as survivors, or hibakusha in Japanese, because they were outside the oval-shaped, state-designated zone stretching around 7 km from east to west and around 12 km from north to south.

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