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Supreme Court Arguments in Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and Livelihood Lawsuits Plaintiffs: “Our Lives Have Been Changed” Ruling in June

Plaintiffs entering the Supreme Court (April 25, 2022)

April 26, 2022
Residents who lived in Fukushima Prefecture and neighboring prefectures at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant have filed a class action lawsuit, “Give us back our community, give us back our livelihood! Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Lawsuit (Livelihood Lawsuit)” was held on April 25 at the Second Petty Bench of the Supreme Court.

Since the Second Petty Bench of the Supreme Court has already rejected TEPCO’s appeal in March 2022, the only remaining point of contention is the responsibility of the national government.

The Supreme Court has already rejected TEPCO’s appeal in March 2022, so the only remaining point of contention is the responsibility of the government. In the Ikigyo lawsuit, the Sendai High Court in the second trial accepted the government’s responsibility, saying that the accident could have been prevented if measures had been taken.

The plaintiffs, referring to the reliability of the “long-term assessment” that the government agency was supposed to have warned about earthquakes, claimed that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and TEPCO failed to take tsunami countermeasures despite warnings in 2002 that a tsunami was coming, and that the government, which has regulatory authority, is responsible for this.

The government, on the other hand, argued that the long-term assessment (issued by the government) was unreliable, and that even if it had ordered countermeasures, the accident could not have been prevented. The trial concluded with a request that the plaintiffs’ claims be dismissed.

At a press conference held after the hearing, Takashi Nakajima, the leader of the plaintiffs in the Ikigyo lawsuit, said, “The government has shown absolutely no remorse, so it will repeat the damage, as evidenced, for example, by its policy of discharging tritium-contaminated water into the ocean. If it is not condemned, it will continue to do so,” he said, harshly criticizing the government’s stance. (Chia Yoshida, writer)

  • We have had our lives changed.
Plaintiffs and supporters appealing in front of the Supreme Court. The man on top of the truck is Takashi Nakajima, the leader of the plaintiffs’ group (April 25, 2022)

On the day of the argument, five buses from Fukushima Prefecture, one from Soso in Hamadori, one from Fukushima (northern part of the prefecture), one from Koriyama (central part of the prefecture), one from Shirakawa (southern part of the prefecture), and one from the National Federation of Peasant Movements (Fukushima), headed for the Supreme Court. 350 people gathered from Fukushima Prefecture and beyond, and many banners and banners were raised in front of the Supreme Court.

One of the plaintiffs, a woman who said she left by bus from Fukushima City at 6:00 a.m. that day, spoke her mind along the roadside in front of the Supreme Court, “At the time of the nuclear accident, I had two elementary school children, and I did not allow them to participate in marathons and other events held outside because of concerns about radiation.

The nuclear accident increased radiation levels in their living environment, and many parents made the decision to stop their children from outdoor activities as much as possible in order to prevent them from being exposed to radiation.

I feel sorry for them now because they don’t have the same memories as everyone else,” she said. The children didn’t say anything at the time, but recently they told me, ‘We wanted to do it with everyone. Our lives have been changed. There is no such thing as the government not being responsible. I want my life back to the way it was before.

Another plaintiff, who was standing next to me, added, “If you talk to each and every one of the victims, they all have their own story of the nuclear accident.

“I moved 11 times in 11 years” after the nuclear accident.

Keiko Fukaya, who lived in Tomioka Town, Fukushima Prefecture, was the one who presented her argument that day. At the press conference, she said, “I have moved 11 times in the past 11 years. How hard it has been for me. I wanted the presiding judge to understand that,” she said.

Ms. Fukaya opened a beauty salon in her home at the age of 60 after working for 40 years as a hair stylist in stores in Namie Town and Tomioka Town while raising her children. Welcoming customers from the community, eating vegetables from her own garden together, and chatting happily with them were the things that made her life worth living.

When the nuclear accident occurred, he was at work and evacuated with almost nothing. Since then, he has moved 11 times, but no matter where he went, he never felt at ease. He turned 70 during the evacuation and did not have the energy to build a house or store in a new place.

I want them to give me back my life itself, which the nuclear accident took away from me,” he said. If that is not possible, I joined the trial because I want them to clarify how the accident happened and who is responsible,” said Fukaya.

At the appeal hearing three years ago, a judge from the Sendai High Court came to see Mr. Fukaya’s home and store. That judge ruled in the appeal trial that not only TEPCO was negligent, but also that the national government was responsible.

●”The trial is a major stepping stone, but it is not the end.

The press conference after the arguments. Left: Ms. Keiko Fukaya, center: Mr. Takashi Nakajima, right: Mr. Ittaro Managi, attorney at law (April 25, 2022)

In their arguments on this day, the plaintiffs referred to the reliability of the “long-term assessment” that the government agency was supposed to have warned about the earthquake.

They argued that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) (the national government) and TEPCO, which has regulatory authority, are responsible for not taking tsunami countermeasures, even though there were warnings in 2002 that a tsunami was coming and could not be ignored.

Attorney Guntaro Managi, who represents the plaintiffs, said, “The government is responsible for not exercising its regulatory authority properly because it has been entrusted with the authority to prevent accidents from happening, even if they should happen, because of the enormous damage that could occur to people’s lives and health.

The government, on the other hand, argues that the long-term evaluation (issued by the government) was unreliable and that the accident could not have been prevented even if countermeasures had been ordered.

Mr. Nakajima, the leader of the plaintiffs’ group, said at a press conference after the argument date, “The government has shown absolutely no remorse, so it will repeat the damage, as evidenced, for example, by its policy of discharging tritium-contaminated water into the ocean. If it is not absolved, it will continue to do so,” he said, criticizing the government’s refusal to accept responsibility.

He continued, “I believe that our trial is required to make the government admit its illegality, and at the same time, to make the government change its attitude through public opinion, not only that of the plaintiffs. The trial is a major stepping stone, but I don’t think it will be the end of the story,” said Nakajima.

In addition to the Ikigyo lawsuits, three other cases in Chiba, Gunma, and Ehime are being argued before the Supreme Court. The Ikigyo lawsuit is the third case to be argued before the Supreme Court, and the Ehime nuclear power plant lawsuit is scheduled to be argued on May 16 before the ruling in June.

Chia Yoshida: Freelance writer. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, she has continued to cover victims and evacuees. She is the author of “Reporto: Mother and Child Evacuation” (Iwanami Shinsho), “Sotoko no Fukushima: Nukei no Koto o Koto wo Ikiru Hitobito” (After Fukushima: People Living After the Nuclear Accident) (Jinbunshoin), “Korunin Futaba-gun Firefighters’ 3/11” (Iwanami Shoten), and co-author of “Nukei Hakusho” (White Paper on Nuclear Evacuation) (Jinbunshoin).
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May 1, 2022 - Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , ,

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