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A book titled “Fukushima Daiichi NPP Accident Nakadori Litigation” (published by Sakuhinsha, Inc.).

The book is a compilation of the eight years leading up to the victory against TEPCO. “I hope the younger generation will read it so that it will not fade away.

November 27, 2022
A book titled “Fukushima Daiichi NPP Accident Nakadori Litigation” (published by Sakuhinsha, Inc.) summarizes the history of the lawsuit by 52 men and women of the “Nakadori ni Ikiru Kai” (represented by Fumiko Hirai) living in Fukushima City and Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, who claimed they suffered psychological damages from the nuclear accident and sought payment of approximately 100 million yen from TEPCO (in March this year, the plaintiffs were declared winners by the Supreme Court). On March 26, the plaintiffs gathered in Fukushima City for a party to celebrate the publication of the book and to express their gratitude. The book is based on the plaintiffs’ tearful statements, which they rewrote and reworked many times to complete the book, and is filled with the history of their claims of emotional distress caused by the risk of radiation exposure and radioactive contamination. One of the plaintiffs said, “I hope the younger generation will read this book. One of the plaintiffs said, “I really want the younger generation to read this book. I hope the younger generation will read this book so that the nuclear accident will not fade away.

[“For Your Later Use”].
 The completed book is 472 pages in a 466-size format. It consists mainly of statements submitted by the plaintiffs to the Fukushima District Court along with their complaint, and includes a chronology of events since March 2014, the complaint, a statement of opinion (excerpts) requesting termination through settlement, and a summary of the appeal trial decision (Sendai High Court, January 2021). The book is as thick as a dictionary and not inexpensive, but it is truly a compilation of the “Nakadori Ikiru Kai” (Association for the Living of Nakadori). The book will be available in bookstores from the 30th of this month.
 Hiroko Sato, one of the plaintiffs, writes in her introduction, “This book is a compilation of the experiences of the ‘Nakadori Ikiru Kai’ (Association for Living in Nakadori).
 This book is a record of our fight in court to prevent people from saying that there was no damage caused by radiation from the nuclear accident, because we wrote statements about our grief, suffering, and anxiety caused by the accident.
 The 20 plaintiffs who gathered for the first time in many years on that day also commented that they could not read the statements without tears.
 I joined the trial because I thought it was important for ordinary housewives to speak out. The reality was harsh, and the process of writing the statements was especially difficult. There were times when I thought about quitting because it was so hard. When I read the book again, I could not read it without tears, because it describes everyone so nakedly, and I wondered how each and every one of them had suffered so much.
 I was surprised to see how much each and every one of you had suffered. I think this book is about that. We will not pretend that what happened did not happen. We will not put a lid on the painful feelings we had. That was important.
 I want the younger generation to read this book. I want the younger generation to read this book. I want them to understand that when an accident occurs at a nuclear power plant, it is so difficult and changes the lives of so many people. I want them to read this book so that they will not let the accident fade away.
 The psychological damage caused by low-dose radiation exposure continues to this day. We hope that many people will become aware of our lawsuit, which has caused us great emotional distress as a result of the nuclear accident, and that they will change their minds about restarting nuclear power plants. I believe this book has that kind of power. I am proud to be one of the main characters in this book.”
 I am proud to be one of the main characters in this book. I am glad that it became a book. It is good timing to publish the book at a time when the government is trying to restart the nuclear power plants.

We will not be forgotten.
 Fumiko Hirai (Fukushima City), who has been leading the way as the representative of the association, reiterated her thoughts at the time she started preparing for the trial, “If we keep quiet, it will be pretended that it never happened. Ritsuko Ueki (Fukushima City), who played a central role in the sponsorship, proudly stated, “The main characters of this book are the plaintiffs. Her husband Shozo, who had fought with her as a plaintiff, suddenly became ill in July and passed away in August. Although the shock still brings tears to her eyes, Ms. Hirai and the plaintiffs were united to the end.
 Two other plaintiffs who attended the publication commemoration also lost their husbands.
 One of the plaintiffs had not told her husband that she was participating in the trial.
 She said, “I didn’t tell my husband because I thought he wouldn’t get the message. I thought he wouldn’t understand, so I didn’t tell my husband.
 Another plaintiff lost her husband last December. She shed tears, saying, “My husband always said to me, ‘Do your best.
 I don’t know how many tears I shed during the long, long process of the trial. Some were tears of joy. No, there were more tears of frustration.
There were more tears of frustration. Lawyers for TEPCO denied all of the plaintiffs’ claims, dismissing them as having no health or psychological damage caused by radioactive contamination. In his ruling, however, Hisaoki Kobayashi, the presiding judge of the Sendai High Court, took a swipe at TEPCO, stating that “it can be said that the plaintiffs were actually exposed to radiation far exceeding conventional assumptions,” and that “the fear and anxiety [about radiation exposure] is not something as light as the ‘vague sense of anxiety’ claimed by the appellant [TEPCO]. The court stated in its decision that “the fear and anxiety of radiation exposure is not as light as the ‘vague sense of anxiety’ claimed by the appellant (TEPCO).
 Attorney Kichitaro Nomura, who represented the plaintiffs in winning the lawsuit, said in front of the plaintiffs, “From the time I filed the lawsuit, I had been thinking that I would like to publish a book after this lawsuit was concluded in a good way. Everyone followed my lead. I am deeply moved by the results of their efforts to write statements and to overcome the questioning of the plaintiffs. I am deeply moved. This was a major trial in my career as a lawyer. The hurdle is high, but if you read the contents of the book, I think you will find something that will resonate with you. He then introduced a comment from Professor Kageura Kyo of the University of Tokyo. He said that he had asked Professor Kageura to comment on the obi, but he was unable to do so due to poor health.
 He said, “Be aware of the fact that it is ‘my’ own damage. I think this is an extremely important point, not only in litigation, but also as a sovereign in a democratic society. In that respect, I thought this lawsuit was very important in that it was not only a victory against TEPCO, but also in that the individual dignity confirmed in the lawsuit led to a reaffirmation of our existence as sovereigns in a democratic society more generally.
 I think the lawsuit was a confirmation of the principle that all citizens are respected as individuals at all levels, including the fact that Mr. Nomura was the only lawyer against the five TEPCO lawyers, and one of the concrete ways to realize that principle.

TEPCO rejected the settlement recommendation.
 Preparation for this lawsuit began in the spring of 2014; it was filed against TEPCO in Fukushima District Court on April 22, 2016.
 The plaintiffs were 1) initially exposed to radiation due to the spread of radioactive materials following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in March 2011, 2) faced with the decision of whether or not to evacuate to avoid exposure to radiation, 3) unable to take appropriate measures to prevent exposure to radiation due to lack of timely and accurate information from TEPCO, 4) family division and separation caused by the voluntary evacuation, and 5) the future health problems of their children and grandchildren. (6) A sense of loss regarding their garden and vegetable garden after the decontamination process.
 The first oral argument was held in August 2016, and the plaintiffs themselves began questioning in February 2018.
 In December 2019, the Fukushima District Court recommended a settlement at the request of the plaintiffs, but TEPCO refused. After stating that “it is reasonable,” the amount of the approved amount was calculated in consideration of the individual circumstances of each plaintiff. The court ordered TEPCO to pay between 22,000 yen and 286,000 yen (a total of 1,234,000 yen) to 50 of the 52 plaintiffs.
 The plaintiffs accepted the judgment, but TEPCO appealed. The appeal hearing at the Sendai High Court will conclude with the first oral argument in September 2020. In January 2021, the High Court ruled that “as in the original trial, the plaintiffs’ legally protected rights were infringed upon with regard to the mental distress they suffered from March 11, 2011, the date of the accident, to December 31 of the same year, exceeding the acceptable limit of social life, and that they incurred increased living expenses during the above period. The court ordered TEPCO to pay compensation, stating that “it is reasonable to award compensation in the amount of 300,000 yen, taking into consideration the fact that the plaintiffs’ living expenses increased during the above-mentioned period. 
 TEPCO filed a “petition for appeal and acceptance of appeal” to the Supreme Court, but in March of this year, the third Petty Bench of the Supreme Court unanimously decided by five judges that “the case will not be accepted as an appeal hearing. The decision of the Sendai High Court, which recognized the plaintiffs’ emotional damages, became final. The decision came after eight years, including the period of preparation prior to the filing of the lawsuit, and eleven years since the nuclear accident occurred.


December 4, 2022 - Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , ,

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