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Mr. Hiroshi Watanabe, a plaintiff in the Ehime lawsuit against the victims of the nuclear power plant accident, says, “The court’s decision will give hope to young people”.

Hiroshi Watanabe, a plaintiff in the Ehime lawsuit against the victims of the nuclear power plant accident, said he hopes the court will clearly recognize the government’s responsibility and give hope to young people.

June 15, 2022
◆Evacuation, Divorce…Families are falling apart
 Fukushima-san, Fukushima-san. Hiroshi Watanabe, 43, who evacuated to Ehime Prefecture from Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture, is sometimes called this by people he met in Ehime. Eleven years after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, he continues to be an “evacuee. And discrimination has not disappeared.
 Only 22 people have evacuated from Fukushima to Ehime (as of April, according to the Reconstruction Agency). Because the number of evacuees is so small, “evacuees stand out and are easily discriminated against. Some evacuees continue to hide the fact that they came from Fukushima from their neighbors, even after purchasing a house.
 Before the accident, he lived with his wife and two daughters in Odaka Ward, Minamisoma City, about 12 km north of the plant, and was a full-time farmer. He left the town under a government evacuation order, and a month after the accident, he evacuated to Ehime, where he spent his college years.
 He divorced his wife in 2019 after a prolonged evacuation in a faraway place, which caused him and his wife to clash with each other more and more. Mr. Watanabe and his second daughter (13) remained behind, while his eldest daughter (17) moved with his ex-wife to Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture. The reality that his family has been torn apart has left him with an unforgettable feeling: “If only the nuclear accident had never happened…”.

◆The ruthless attitude of the country was shown to me.
What triggered the lawsuit against the government and TEPCO was a social gathering of evacuees that started immediately after the accident at the urging of a Buddhist priest in Matsuyama City. When the group met once a month, one after another, they voiced their plight, saying, “We are suffering financially. They could not forgive the government for leaving compensation to TEPCO and providing inadequate support for the evacuees.
 We went door to door to explain to the evacuees participating in the exchange meeting and recruited plaintiffs. Many of the evacuees were of child-rearing age, and eight plaintiffs, or 30%, were under 20 years old at the time of the accident.
 In January 2003, at the first oral argument at the Matsuyama District Court, they were confronted with the ruthless attitude of the government. When the plaintiffs attempted to state their opinions in court about the hardships of evacuation life, the government’s representative refused to listen to them, saying, “It is unnecessary because it is not evidence (for the trial). After that, the scientific debate continued endlessly, and I wondered in the audience. I wondered in the audience, “Is there any place for evacuees in this trial?


◆”I wanted a school for evacuees.”
 Still, if they did not speak out, their suffering would be pretended to have never happened. In May, I visited the plaintiffs in an effort to convey the feelings of the evacuees in the Supreme Court.
 Among them was a brother who had been bullied and had stopped attending school. The 22-year-old brother said that he wished that evacuee schools had been established throughout Japan so that evacuees could go to school with other evacuees, and that if the government had been honest enough to apologize, the accident would never have happened in the first place. If the government had been honest and apologetic, the accident would never have happened in the first place,” he said angrily.
 Mr. Watanabe’s second daughter, who is in her second year of junior high school, said, “My classmates don’t know much about the nuclear accident. If they don’t know about it, it will cause another accident, so I hope that when the verdict comes out, it will be written in textbooks that the accident was caused by the government’s policy.
 Hearing the voices of the young plaintiffs, Ms. Watanabe thinks, “Young people will continue to live with the accident. I hope that the court will issue a verdict that will give hope to the young people who will have to live with the accident in the future.

 Ehime Lawsuit Residents who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Ehime Prefecture due to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant filed lawsuits one after another since March 2014, and two lawsuits were filed in Ehime Prefecture. Five people have filed lawsuits against the government and TEPCO, demanding compensation. On March 26, 2007, the Matsuyama District Court of the first instance (Judge Keiko Kuboi) ordered the government and TEPCO to pay a total of 27.43 million yen. On September 29, 2009, the Takamatsu High Court (Ryuichi Kamiyama, presiding judge), the court of second instance, also ordered TEPCO to pay a total of ¥2,743,000. The second trial court, Takamatsu High Court (Judge Ryuichi Kamiyama), on September 29, 2009, also found the government liable and ordered TEPCO to pay a total of 46.21 million yen, saying that the government’s failure to take tsunami countermeasures “deviated from acceptable limits and was extremely unreasonable. TEPCO’s liability was confirmed by the Supreme Court’s Second Petty Bench (Hiroyuki Kanno, Chief Justice) on March 30, 2010, rejecting TEPCO’s appeal.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/183388?fbclid=IwAR2EfW4MVn87SSkDINOkofLDs2dIjjic2zddRor_oH4gNikPc8hTNIeAHJ8

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Plaintiffs in court gather at the National Diet to seek relief for damage caused by the nuclear power plant accident.

June 13, 2022
The Supreme Court will render its decision on June 17 in four class-action lawsuits seeking to hold the government legally liable for causing the nuclear accident. On May 31, a total of about 50 plaintiffs and lawyers gathered at the Diet Members’ Building. On May 31, a total of about 50 plaintiffs and lawyers gathered at the Diet Members’ Building and visited more than 150 Diet members in separate groups, handing them letters of request for relief from the damage caused by the nuclear power plant accident.

 Victory in the case is assured. We walked around the Diet Members’ Building with the people who have suffered from the nuclear accident for 11 years. (We will surely win.)

We will win.

We will surely win at the Supreme Court. We will surely win, and when we do, we will need the help of all the members of the Diet!

 Takashi Nakajima, leader of the plaintiffs in the Ikigyo lawsuit, spoke strongly to the secretary of a ruling party Diet member and handed him a letter of request that he had prepared.

The letter of request.
 The government has taken the position that it is socially responsible for the nuclear power plant accident, without legal responsibility. If the Supreme Court of Japan recognizes the legal responsibility of the government, the government will be required to reevaluate its past stance and take measures in accordance with its legal responsibility. We are confident that the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in our case, and we request the following
1Please attend the debriefing meeting after the Supreme Court decision and encourage the plaintiffs.
2. The National Liaison Group for Nuclear Power Plant Victims' Litigation is compiling joint demands and working to realize them. We look forward to your cooperation.

Plaintiffs Gathered from Across Japan

 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Across the street from the Diet is the Prime Minister’s official residence and the Diet Members’ Hall, which is used by members of the Diet from both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. Two high-rise buildings will be built for members of the House of Representatives and one for the House of Councillors. On May 31, just before the Supreme Court ruling, the plaintiffs in the nuclear accident lawsuit spent the day walking around the Diet members’ building.

 The group that made the request was the National Liaison Group for Nuclear Power Plant Victims’ Lawsuits. In addition to the Ikigyo lawsuit, plaintiffs and defense lawyers who have filed lawsuits in various parts of Japan have joined the group. On this day, in addition to the four cases (Ikigyo, Gunma, Chiba, Ehime) for which judgments will be handed down on the 17th, plaintiffs from Kanagawa, Kyushu, Tokyo, Aichi/Gifu, and Iwaki also participated. Give us back our hometown! The plaintiffs from the Tsushima lawsuit also participated in the meeting. Including the lawyers, a total of more than 50 people made up the “large request group.

 On the morning of the day of the meeting, the conference room prepared as the meeting place was in a state of flux with all the preparations. Everyone, please listen carefully! Listen up! Gentaro Managi, attorney at law for the Ikigyo Litigation Defense Group, who was in charge of the entire request activity, shouted loudly, “Please listen carefully!

 The group was divided into 15 groups and was to visit more than 150 Diet members in a single day. Visiting the rooms of Diet members is a complicated process. In addition to making an appointment in advance, the participants had to go through a baggage check at the entrance to the Diet members’ chambers and hand in a piece of paper at the reception desk explaining the reason for their visit. Some of the plaintiffs who had gathered at the Diet members’ chambers said that this was their first visit to the building. Mr. Managi and Mr. Takashi Hattori, Deputy Secretary General of the plaintiffs’ group for the Ikigyo lawsuit, explained the procedure for the day.

They explained the procedure for the day: “All right, everyone,” they said. The head of each group has the list of places to visit. Many of the people in each group will be meeting for the first time. Please introduce yourselves before you leave.

I know the council members and secretaries are busy. Some secretaries may say yes, yes, yes, and try to turn you away after a minute or so. Please think of it as a game from there. ‘Don’t you need to take notes?’ and persist for three or five minutes.

Then, as soon as the groups have finished their preparations, please depart!

Plaintiffs preparing to make their request in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Dedicatedly Going Around to Council Members

 The three members of Team 7 that accompanied the author were Takashi Nakajima, leader of the plaintiffs in the Ikigyo lawsuit (Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture), a man who is also a plaintiff in the Ikigyo lawsuit (Date City), and Makoto Seo of the Chiba lawsuit.

Let’s see, we’ll start with the fourth floor,” said Nakajima, looking over a list of places to visit. Nakajima looked over the list of places to visit. Each group is supposed to visit a dozen or so members of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives has 465 members. The House of Councillors has 245 members (including three vacancies). Naturally, it is not possible to visit all of them. In addition to the executives of each political party, the list was narrowed down to those members who belong to committees related to the nuclear power plant issue. The targets were the Special Committee on Investigation of Nuclear Power Issues, the Special Committee on Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the Budget Committee.

 The Diet members’ private rooms are lined up in the Diet Members’ Building like university laboratories. When I ring the intercom and say, “Sorry, please come in,” the legislator’s secretary opens the door. There, I inform them of the purpose of my visit and tell them that I would like to see the council member himself if possible. In reality, the council member himself was rarely in the room, and his secretary would often receive the request form on his behalf. Some secretaries of ruling party lawmakers refused to receive the documents, saying, “I think this will be difficult,” upon hearing the words “lawsuit over the nuclear power plant accident.

 The six Diet members’ rooms we visited in the morning were all unresponsive. In some cases, there were no secretaries, and they simply dropped the documents in the mailboxes. I guess they don’t listen to us after all. ……

 However, the steady footwork gradually yielded results in the afternoon.

 In the room of one ruling party lawmaker, the secretary who greeted him showed great interest in Nakajima’s story, and they talked for about 20 minutes.

The secretary said, “There is a part of the Diet members that as long as the trial is still going on, they cannot bypass it. In that sense, I think the Supreme Court decision is a great opportunity.”

Nakajima: “Thank you very much. We at the All-United Nations are confident that we will win the case. We are confident that we will win the case, and we are making a joint demand as something we will seek after the ruling. We would like to ask for the help of the members of the Diet in this regard, as it will require legislation.

The secretary said, “Understood. I will let him know. There are members of the ruling party who have various ideas about nuclear power, but I believe that it is the role of politics to help those in need.

 In the room of a former cabinet member, while he was talking persistently with his secretary, the Diet member himself came out from the back of the room.

Nakajima: “Whoa, well, well! Actually, there is a Supreme Court ruling on the 17th.”

Councilor “I see. I understand. I’m sorry. I don’t have time right now, but …… (to the secretary) make sure you listen to it properly!

 Of the dozen or so Diet members that Team 7 visited, only one member of the opposition party took the time to meet directly with the Diet member himself.

What is the outcome of the request?

 3:00 pm. After completing their requests, all 15 groups returned to the conference room for a debriefing session. Each group reported the results of the day and their impressions.

One person expressed his frustration, saying, “The secretary of Senator ●● refused to even meet with me!” One person expressed his frustration.

‘Many of the secretaries seemed to back away a bit when we started talking to them. ……

They didn’t even know that the verdict was on the 17th. It was very disappointing.”

 It was a debriefing session that showed that all the groups, though struggling, ran around trying to appeal to the legislators on the issue of the nuclear power plant accident.

Those who stood and tried to listen were generally not interested in hearing what we had to say. But they let me in when there were about four council members, and I was allowed to talk in the parlor.”

‘Where I could talk, I expressed my thoughts. The Congressman himself came out to see me!”

 Finally, Gentaro Managi, attorney for the Ikigyo lawsuit, said, “The senator’s request is not something that can be finished in a day. We have to continue the request even after the ruling. We need to continue the request two or three times from now on,” he summed up the day’s activities.

Joint Demand” by Plaintiffs’ Groups Nationwide

 On May 16, about two weeks before the action, the National Liaison Committee of Plaintiffs in Lawsuits Against Nuclear Power Plant Victims created a “Joint Demand” of 22 organizations.

The "Joint Demand for Relief of Victims of the Nuclear Power Plant Accident
1. The government and TEPCO must accept and deeply reflect on their negligent safety measures, which were declared illegal by the Supreme Court decision. Based on this self-reflection, the government and TEPCO must sincerely apologize to all victims, regardless of whether they are inside or outside Fukushima Prefecture, inside or outside the evacuation zone, or have chosen to live in, evacuate from, or return to their homes.

 The demand goes on to nine items. The demands include: “adequate compensation for the actual damage,” “free health checkups and medical care based on the dangers of radiation exposure,” “investigation and disclosure of the actual state of soil contamination,” and “no discharge of contaminated water into the ocean without the public’s understanding.

 The term “victims of the nuclear power plant accident” is used in a single sentence, but each person’s damage and situation are different. In some lawsuits, most of the plaintiffs remain in Fukushima Prefecture, while in other lawsuits, evacuees play a central role. The plaintiffs are in different positions, and they have discussed and developed a joint demand, according to the people involved. 

 The court decision will not walk away and change politics and society on its own. We have no choice but to take action ourselves. The plaintiffs from all over Japan are continuing their efforts.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Ms. Sugie Tanji, a plaintiff in the Gunma lawsuit against the victims of the nuclear power plant accident, said, “I couldn’t give up because I was frustrated”

Ms. Sugie Tanji (left), a plaintiff in the Gunma lawsuit against the victims of the nuclear power plant accident, said, “I want to clarify the cause of the nuclear power plant accident.

June 12, 2022

◆The opportunity to prevent the accident “was there time and time again.”
 Before 6:00 p.m. on June 10, Tanji Sugie, 65, was holding a microphone in front of JR Maebashi Station.
 I want to clarify the cause of the accident, and I don’t want to see anyone shed tears the same way again.”
 This is the 483rd time for the campaign to call for nuclear power plant phase-out, which started every Friday since November 2012. She will not stand in front of the station on the 17th, the next time. On that day, the final verdict in her own trial will be handed down by the Supreme Court.
As one of the evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture to Gunma Prefecture following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, she filed a lawsuit in September 2001. She wanted the Supreme Court to recognize that not only TEPCO but also the national government was responsible for the accident, which was one of the worst in the world.
 She argued that the government could not have prevented the accident even if it had taken countermeasures, even though it had many, many opportunities to prevent the severe accident. It was most upsetting to me that they didn’t even try and it was all for naught.”
 She went to every court hearing and traveled to various locations to support the lawsuits of other evacuees. She was not paid for her transportation or time off work. At home, she has piles of books and other materials related to the nuclear power plant that she has read.
 I studied, listened to others, and communicated. I have never had such intense days. I have no regrets. But I wonder if this is the life I wanted.


◆word like abuse I cried and shouted alone.
 If the accident had not occurred that day, she would be living with her husband Mikio, 68, in Okinawa. They were on their honeymoon in Okinawa, where Mikio continues to work as a home appliance repairman and a tourist guide. They used to talk about the future together, but now they only think about the past, “Those were the days….
 Mikio’s business was going well as he repaired word processors sent by customers all over Japan when the nuclear power plant accident occurred. In July 2011, Mikio moved from his home in northern Iwaki City, 35 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, to Maebashi City. It was a “voluntary evacuation” from outside the government’s evacuation zone. About half of the plaintiffs are also voluntary evacuees.
 They were forced to evacuate for their own reasons, such as fears about radiation and not being able to raise their children safely. Despite this, the voluntary evacuees were labeled as “having fled without permission.
 At one point, I was even heckled with the comment, “The trial is hindering the reconstruction of Fukushima. I cried and screamed alone in the car many times,” she said. Even so, she continued to lead the group of plaintiffs. Four of the plaintiffs have died, and some are suffering from terminal cancer. I didn’t give up because I was frustrated.


◆There is still work to be done even after the trial is over.
 The Supreme Court’s unified decision on the government’s responsibility will have a tremendous impact on about 30 other lawsuits. I’m scared. I can’t sleep when I think about it. I can’t sleep when I think about it,” she said. I can’t sleep thinking about it. But I want them to accept responsibility.
 We need to create many measures so that the victims of the nuclear accident can live in peace. It is our responsibility as adults living after the nuclear accident”. Even after the trial is over, there is still work to be done. It will be a while before I can discuss the future with Mikio. (Shinichi Ogawa)

Gunma Lawsuit On September 11, 2013, 137 residents and their families who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Gunma Prefecture due to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station filed a lawsuit against the government and TEPCO, seeking compensation. The court ordered TEPCO and the government to pay a total of 3.855 million yen. However, on January 21, 2009, the Tokyo High Court (Presiding Judge Satoshi Adachi) reversed itself and denied the government’s responsibility. It ordered TEPCO alone to pay a total of 119.72 million yen. TEPCO’s liability was confirmed on March 2, 2010, when the Supreme Court’s Second Petty Bench (Hiroyuki Kanno, Chief Justice) rejected TEPCO’s appeal.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/182959?fbclid=IwAR2lFCcz8dlFlOHQVvjT_d8jI_AIHaT3iRleQ8EcBXTz7tYMV1Xv8i_TwIE

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

I will not run away even if people say I am a “walking rumor mill”.

Takashi Nakajima cuts and slices fresh fish, mostly locally caught, that he personally selects at the market into sashimi and displays them at his restaurant, which his son has taken over, in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture.

June 11, 2022

I think I might have to close down the store.
 In December 2012, when asked by Guntaro Managi, 46, a lawyer visiting from Tokyo, to become a plaintiff leader, Takashi Nakajima, 66, who runs a local fish supermarket in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, could not give an immediate answer. I might have to close down the store,” he said.
 Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake, supermarkets were packed with people every day in search of water and food. They cooked rice from stores they had left over, negotiated to buy fish from frozen warehouses at markets, and carried water in bleached kettles. Some people came from far away by bicycle or on foot due to lack of gasoline. 1,500 people a day formed a long line. While stores in the area were closed, they worked desperately to secure foodstuffs so as not to let the local people starve to death.
 After the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the fishing industry in Fukushima was forced to suspend operations. Both the fish brokers and the retailers’ association, of which Mr. Nakajima is the president, were in dire straits because they could not get local fish. We have no choice but to hang ourselves,” he said. Such voices came in on a daily basis. With the help of a lawyer, he filed a direct claim for damages with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), but the company was slow to take action.


Sales down 30%, living on a pension with his wife without pay
It was then that he was asked to become the leader of the plaintiffs’ group in a lawsuit seeking compensation from TEPCO and the central government. His wife Kazumi, 66, told him, “Everyone is going to hang themselves. My son will teach you how to cut fish. I’ll teach my son how to cut fish, and we’ll take care of the restaurant. The fact that the lawyers had told him, “We are prepared to win even if it costs us our own money,” also crossed his mind. We can’t just run away.
 Meetings of the plaintiffs’ group, lawsuits, negotiations with the government and TEPCO…. He began to leave the restaurant frequently. Due in part to the nuclear accident, sales have dropped by 30% at best, and now he and his wife live on a pension without pay.
 As the head of the plaintiffs’ group, he was prepared to face criticism from those around him for continuing to complain about the damage. I was very angry when I was told by neighbors that I was a “walking rumor mill. However, his determination to have TEPCO and the national government admit responsibility for the nuclear accident and apologize, and to help victims other than the plaintiffs, was unwavering.


The government’s efforts to restart the nuclear power plants will not end with the court’s decision.
 More than 11 years have passed since the accident, and more than 100 plaintiffs have died. Mr. Nakashima cannot forget Mitsuo Takagi, then 71, a ramen shop owner in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, who committed suicide in 2003. In court, he said, “I was happy when my children came to the store with their families. Now that the area has been designated as an evacuation zone, I can’t even open that store. Do you understand my frustration? There was no suicide note.
 There was no suicide note,” Nakajima said. I believe that the Supreme Court’s decision will recognize the government’s responsibility. I wanted my friends who passed away to hear this. The government is now trying to restart the nuclear reactors. The ruling is not the end of the matter. The plaintiffs’ group will not disband and will continue to fight until we hand over to the next generation a society in which nuclear accidents will never happen again.

 Fukushima lawsuit: “Give back our livelihood, give back our community! The lawsuit was filed on March 11, 2013 under the slogan “Give back our livelihoods, give back our community! The lawsuit was filed on March 11, 2013 under the slogan “Give back our livelihood, give back our community! The Fukushima District Court (Kanazawa Hideki, presiding judge) in the first trial held the government liable for one-half of TEPCO’s damages, but the Sendai High Court (Ueda Satoshi, presiding judge) in the second trial found the government’s liability equal to that of TEPCO and doubled the amount of damages to 1.01 billion yen. The high court decision expands the area covered by the “loss of hometown” compensation, which was only allowed in the difficult-to-return zone under the government’s “Interim Guidelines” for compensation standards. The court also approved compensation for victims in the Fukushima and Aizu regions and parts of Tochigi and Miyagi prefectures that are outside the evacuation zone.

 On April 17, the Supreme Court’s Second Petty Bench will issue a unified decision on whether the government is liable for damages in four lawsuits filed by victims of the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, and Ehime prefectures against TEPCO and the government. Ahead of the ruling, which could have a tremendous impact on the approximately 30 class action lawsuits filed nationwide, we asked the plaintiffs in the four lawsuits about the past 11 years and what the future holds.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/182747?rct=national&fbclid=IwAR2NuOz8_wblQXnJ4Ol7SryV1nCGWAXlBlKwKSg6TBCEwWnQiC-S7s9ASio

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Court orders TEPCO to pay 73.5 million yen over Fukushima crisis

From front right, reactors No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. are seen in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 13, 2021.

June 2, 2022

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — A Japanese court on Thursday ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay a total of 73.5 million yen ($566,000) in compensation to current and former residents of Tamura City in the west of the complex hit by the March 2011 disaster for emotional distress.

But the 525 plaintiffs, who sought 11 million yen per person in damages from both Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and the Japanese government, are considering appealing the ruling, some of them said in a press conference.

The Koriyama branch of the Fukushima District Court recognized the plaintiffs’ claim that they were anguished by losing previous joy, such as picking nearby wild plants and forging community ties, but dismissed the case against the state.

Presiding Judge Yohei Motomura noted that a government organization’s assessment released in 2002 of danger posed by possible quake-induced tsunami for the nuclear complex lacked accuracy, but it was still difficult for the state to foresee the magnitude of tsunami that hit the plant.

“Even if the government had exercised its regulatory authority and had TEPCO take countermeasures, it could not have been possible to prevent the tsunami from triggering the accident,” the judge said, awarding 2 million yen to each plaintiff.

Given that the plaintiffs had received compensation in the form of a monthly consolation fee of 100,000 yen from TEPCO through August 2012, the court ruled that most of the damages awarded in its ruling have already been paid.

A devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s northeast on March 11, 2011, triggered reactor meltdowns at the nuclear complex and sent plumes of radioactive material in the air.

Some areas of Tamura sit within a radius of 20- to 30-kilometers from the plant and were designated as emergency evacuation preparation zones the next month in the event of a worsened situation. The designation was lifted in September 2011.

Similar cases have been filed across Japan accusing the company and government of negligence over safety concerns about the plant.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220602/p2g/00m/0na/053000c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima District Court Orders TEPCO to Pay Compensation, Finding No Liability on the Part of the State

Plaintiffs’ lawyers hold up a paper that reads, “The government denies its responsibility for compensation,” after the ruling in the nuclear power plant lawsuit.

June 02, 2022
525 residents of the former emergency evacuation preparation zone in the Miyakoji district of Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture, have filed a lawsuit against the government and TEPCO, claiming that they lost community ties and suffered emotional distress as a result of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. On April 2, the Koriyama Branch of the Fukushima District Court ruled in a lawsuit filed by 525 residents of the former emergency evacuation preparation zone in the Miyakoji district of Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture, seeking a total of approximately 6 billion yen in damages from the government and TEPCO. The judge, Yohei Motomura, ordered TEPCO to pay approximately 7,350,000,000 yen in compensation. The court did not find the government liable.


Judge Motomura awarded approximately 1.2 billion yen in compensation to the residents for the anxiety caused by exposure to radiation and the emotional distress caused by the long-term evacuation. He calculated the amount of compensation by subtracting approximately 1.13 billion yen that the residents had already received. The court did not find that the government had foreseeability.


 According to the complaint, the plaintiffs had been enjoying gathering wild vegetables and mushrooms for their livelihood, but the nuclear power plant accident caused them to lose their connection to the natural environment of the area.


 After the verdict, Nobuyuki Imaizumi, 74, a plaintiff, said, “I have been working for eight whole years, and it is very disappointing that the government is not found responsible. As long as there are plaintiffs, we will fight until the end. Plaintiffs’ attorney Hiroyasu Hayashi expressed his intention to appeal, saying, “Given the current amount of money, there will be an extremely large number of plaintiffs who will appeal.
https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2022060200741&g=soc&fbclid=IwAR33nh5nPAc5SeW_7vxHOlZOjo-ChhRWGJVjvxFaFhwWSaNbyjb8DwUMeHA

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Cancer patients forced to testify anonymously in Fukushima nuclear disaster case

The plaintiffs are facing a backlash as they argue that the 2011 disaster is the cause of their ill health.

Screening of local children has revealed unusually high levels of thyroid cancer

29 May 2022

A court in Japan this week began hearings against the operator of a Fukushima power plant over cases of thyroid cancer in children allegedly linked to the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Six people are seeking Y616 million (£3.8 million) in damages from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), claiming they were exposed to radiation after a massive tsunami destroyed the plant’s cooling systems and caused three of the six reactors to suffer meltdowns. 

The people – all aged between 6 and 16 at the time – have been living with the effects of that day ever since. 

Four had their thyroid removed entirely and will need to take hormone medication for the rest of their lives. The other two had portions of their thyroids removed. One of the plaintiffs said the cancer has spread to their lungs. 

“Because of the treatments, I could not attend university, or continue my studies for my future job, or go to a concert. I had to give up everything”, testified one woman who is now in her 20s. “I want to regain my healthy body, but that’s impossible no matter how hard I wish.”

Their stories are compelling, but the four women and two men are having to testify anonymously in the landmark case – in part because many people simply do not believe them. 

Doctors in Fukushima have screened hundreds of thousands of people for thyroid cancer in the years since the disaster

A culture of discrimination and misunderstanding around cancer in Japan that dates back to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945 has meant they have become the target of insidious online abuse.

Some have suggested they are exaggerating or making their illnesses up. Others have accused them of damaging the reputation of Fukushima, which has tried hard to rehabilitate its image since the disaster. 

One message posted on the site of a local Fukushima website said the plaintiffs’ parents were to blame because they failed to evacuate the children immediately after the disaster.  

Another message said the people “appear to be annoyed that they cannot live perfect lives”.

A third person said the case was being encouraged “by an anti-Japanese, leftist group”. 

The plaintiffs involved hope that this case will finally put all that to bed. 

Their lawyers will argue that screening of 380,000 local children since 2011 has identified around 300 cases of thyroid cancer. That incidence rate of 77 cases per 100,000 people is significantly higher than the typical one or two cases per million and can only be linked to radiation from the accident, they say. A similar pattern was seen among children following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

Japanese police wear suits to protect them from radiation as they search for victims after the disaster

“The doctor told my father that the cancer was highly malignant and had spread widely. He said it appeared to be less than five years old,” one man told local media before the hearing.

TEPCO has always maintained that there is no link between the leak of radiation from the plant and the spike in cancer cases, adding that tests of 1,080 children from three cities around the plant showed no one received more than 50 millisieverts of radiation, the annual limit for nuclear workers.

Their lawyers are set to argue that the high rate of thyroid cancers in Fukushima is the result of overtesting. 

The company’s attempts to discredit them has added fuel to widespread hostility towards the plaintiffs.

“The people of Hiroshima were shunned by the rest of Japan after the atomic bombing of the city in 1945 because they did not understand about radiation and they feared they could catch it as a disease,” Chisato Kitanaka, an associate professor of sociology at Hiroshima University told The Telegraph. 

“We cannot say that people do not lack information on the Fukushima case, but these people are still being singled out. They attack because they prefer to believe TEPCO or because they support the government’s plan to restart the nation’s nuclear reactors.” 

In a separate case, earlier this year Japan’s Supreme Court upheld an order for TEPCO to pay damages of 1.4 billion yen (£9.5 million) to about 3,700 people whose lives were devastated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in the first decision of its kind.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/29/cancer-patients-forced-testify-anonymously-fukushima-nuclear/?fbclid=IwAR1sYH9tJ0IzG5tSt81GYk6Jz0EgE75uLnEgbt5KTiRuXEsURolv2zho_S0

June 5, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Cancer patients seek damages from Fukushima nuclear plant

Lawyer Kenichi Ido, second left, sitting among other lawyers representing plaintiffs who were children in Fukushima at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster and later developed thyroid cancer, speaks during a news conference after a trial in Tokyo, Thursday, May 26, 2022. A Tokyo court began hearing a case Thursday seeking nearly $5 million in damages for six people who lived as children in Fukushima and developed thyroid cancer after its 2011 nuclear disaster. (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)

By Mari Yamaguchi Associated Press

May 26, 2022

A Tokyo court has begun hearings in a lawsuit seeking nearly $5 million in damages for six people who were children in Fukushima at the time of its 2011 nuclear power plant disaster and later developed thyroid cancer

TOKYO — A Tokyo court began hearings Thursday in a lawsuit seeking nearly $5 million in damages for six people who were children in Fukushima at the time of its 2011 nuclear power plant disaster and later developed thyroid cancer.

The plaintiffs are suing the operator of the nuclear plant, saying radiation released in the accident caused their illnesses.

It is the first group lawsuit filed by Fukushima residents over health problems allegedly linked to the disaster, their lawyers say.

One plaintiff, identified only as a woman in her 20s, testified from behind a screen that she had to give up plans to attend university because of repeated operations and treatments.

“Because of the treatments, I could not attend university, or continue my studies for my future job, or go to a concert. I had to give up everything,” she said. “I want to regain my healthy body, but that’s impossible no matter how hard I wish.”

She and the five other plaintiffs are seeking a total of 616 million yen ($4.9 million) in damages from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings for allegedly causing their cancers.

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and release large amounts of radiation. Critics say the plant operator should have known that a large tsunami was possible at the site.

The plaintiffs, who were 6 to 16 years old at the time of the accident and lived in different parts of Fukushima, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 2012 and 2018, their lawyers said.

The plant operator told the court that they were not exposed to enough radiation to cause cancer, citing tests of 1,080 children from three cities around the plant that showed about 55% were not exposed and none received more than 50 millisieverts, the annual limit for nuclear workers.

An increase in thyroid cancer was found among children following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

The Fukushima prefectural government tested 380,000 residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident for thyroid cancer. About 300 were diagnosed with cancer or suspected cancer.

That occurrence rate, about 77 per 100,000, is significantly higher than the usual 1-2 per million and can only be linked to radiation from the accident, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

Prefectural officials and experts have said the high level of thyroid cancer found in Fukushima is due to an overdiagnosis, which might have led to unnecessary treatment.

Kenichi Ido, one of the lawyers, said none of the cases involve an overdiagnosis and that the plant operator should be held accountable for radiation exposure unless it can prove otherwise.

The plaintiff who testified Thursday said she walked from home to her high school five days after the tsunami, just as the reactors were undergoing meltdowns.

Three other plaintiffs who attended the hearing were also behind a partition to protect their privacy because of criticism on social media accusing them of fabricating their illnesses and hurting the image of Fukushima, the lawyers said.

Ido said many people with health problems feel intimidated to speak out in Fukushima and that he hopes the lawsuit will prove a correlation between radiation and the plaintiffs’ cancers “so that we can have a society in which people can talk freely about their difficulties.”

The government was slow in responding to the crisis, and evacuations in many places were delayed due to a lack of disclosure of what was happening at the nuclear plant. Residents who fled in their cars clogged roads and were stranded for hours outside while radiation spread from the damaged reactors. Some residents headed to evacuation centers in the direction of the radiation flow.

https://www.claimsjournal.com/news/international/2022/05/27/310693.htm

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Class action lawsuit against the victims of thyroid cancer caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident begins

May 26, 2022
On May 26, a class action lawsuit began in which six people who were children at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are seeking compensation from TEPCO for thyroid cancer they contracted as a result of the accident.

The six, who were between the ages of 6 and 16 when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident occurred 11 years ago, claim that they were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time and that they developed thyroid cancer as a result of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident.

After the accident, they were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in tests conducted by Fukushima Prefecture, and have been forced to have their thyroid glands removed and undergo lifelong hormone treatment.
The trial will begin on March 26 at the Tokyo District Court, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers have stated that, “According to statistics from a national research institute, the average number of thyroid cancer cases in children was only one to two per million people per year for the 10 years until 2007, but in Fukushima, at least 293 cases have been confirmed in the 10 years since the accident. In Fukushima, however, at least a total of 293 cases of cancer have been confirmed in the 10 years since the accident,” and that “the cancer is presumed to be caused by exposure to radiation from the accident.

A female plaintiff stated, “I prioritized treatment over my dreams for the future and had no choice but to quit my university studies. I hope that through the trial, relief for the patients will be realized,” she tearfully appealed.

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, this is the first class action lawsuit to hold TEPCO responsible for the health damage caused by radiation exposure from the nuclear power plant accident, and TEPCO has indicated that it will fight the case.

The next meeting will be held in September, and TEPCO is scheduled to make a rebuttal.
The Fukushima Prefecture’s expert panel and the UN scientific committee’s opinion is
The Fukushima Prefectural Expert Panel and the United Nations Scientific Committee have each expressed their opinions on whether the thyroid cancer diagnosed in some children living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was caused by exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plant accident.

As part of its post-nuclear accident health survey, Fukushima Prefecture conducted a large-scale test using ultrasound equipment to check for thyroid cancer in approximately 380,000 people who were under the age of 18 at the time of the accident.

Fukushima Prefecture has established a committee of experts to analyze whether the cancers found were caused by radiation exposure.

Of these, 187 have been evaluated by 2019, and a report has been compiled stating that “no relationship between the thyroid cancers found and radiation exposure can be found”.

The reasons given were that the estimated radiation doses received by children in Fukushima Prefecture after the accident were much lower than those received in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, and that there was no statistical bias in the regional distribution of cancer patients and no trend indicating an association with radiation exposure.

The expert panel is still analyzing the remaining 87 people diagnosed after FY2016, and the results of the evaluation have not yet been presented.

On the other hand, the UN Scientific Committee, which evaluates the effects of radiation on humans and the environment, estimated radiation doses last year based on the type and amount of radioactive materials released by the accident and the evacuation behavior of the residents, and concluded that “it is unlikely that any health effects directly attributable to radiation exposure caused by the accident will be observed in the residents of Fukushima Prefecture in the future. The report states that “the likelihood of health effects directly caused by radiation exposure in Fukushima Prefecture in the future is low.

The report also stated that the cases diagnosed in Fukushima Prefecture “are not the result of radiation exposure, but rather the result of highly sensitive ultrasound examinations that are likely to have diagnosed cancers that would not normally be detected,” and expressed a negative opinion on the causal relationship between thyroid cancer and the cases.
TEPCO “will listen to the plaintiffs’ claims in detail and respond appropriately.

TEPCO said, “We will listen to the plaintiffs’ claims and the details of their claims in detail and respond appropriately. TEPCO once again expresses its sincere apology to the people of Fukushima Prefecture and the wider community for the inconvenience and concern caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The plaintiff, a woman in her 20s, said
The six young people who filed the lawsuit claim that they were diagnosed with cancer and that it has affected the future they had envisioned.

One of the plaintiffs, a woman in her 20s from Nakadori, Fukushima Prefecture, was a junior high school student when the nuclear accident occurred.

It was in the spring, about four years after the accident, that she felt a change in her health.

She had just left her family in Fukushima and started living alone when she entered university.

Her body was swollen all over, her menstrual period came once every two weeks, her skin became rough, and she began to feel a strong discomfort in her throat and body pain.

After consulting with her family, she underwent an examination as part of the prefectural health survey conducted by Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear power plant accident, and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The woman recalls her feelings at the time, “I had hoped that the surgery would improve my health, but even after the surgery, I continued to feel ill easily, and I became increasingly worried that the cancer might recur or spread.

However, her health did not improve as expected, and she had no choice but to leave the company after about a year and a half in order to prioritize her treatment.

Even now, regular visits to the hospital and medication are essential for her. “I had longed to be a career woman who worked hard, but I now have to prioritize my health in everything I do,” she said. I am worried that it will affect my future choices of marriage and childbirth,” she confides.

Regarding the relationship between exposure to radiation from the nuclear accident and thyroid cancer, the Fukushima prefectural government’s expert panel has so far stated that “no relationship has been found.

All of the plaintiffs, including the woman, are going to trial without revealing their faces or names publicly, as some have criticized them for claiming health problems caused by exposure to radiation as Fukushima is making progress toward recovery.

The woman said, “I was afraid that I would be discriminated against if people knew that I was from Fukushima Prefecture and had thyroid cancer, so I could hardly tell anyone until now,” adding, “I thought there were many people who suffered from cancer as well and had to give up their dreams such as higher education and employment, or who could not speak up for fear of discrimination and prejudice, and I became an adult first. I decided that I would be the one to show courage. I would like to clarify the facts through the trial and seek redress for the damage.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20220526/k10013644951000.html?fbclid=IwAR3esCBTOE5Qt6wSYOxfbjHDypiU4KBILUC3zFy-ko35Qyb2sf1iVCh_sk4

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer surgery 4 times “I want to know the causal relationship

A man who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 19 in Tokyo said, “More than anything, I want to know the causal relationship between the nuclear power plant accident and my thyroid cancer.

May 25, 2022
Thyroid cancer has been confirmed in approximately 300 children who were in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The question is, “Is there a causal relationship between the accident and thyroid cancer? A man, 25, who was in the second year of junior high school at the time of the accident, had undergone four surgeries and was fearful that the cancer would recur, so he filed a lawsuit to find the answer. The first oral argument in the lawsuit by the man and six other young people demanding compensation from TEPCO will be held at the Tokyo District Court on March 26. (The first oral argument of the lawsuit will be held at the Tokyo District Court on April 26.)
◆”I am always concerned about the recurrence and metastasis of cancer.
 I live my life knowing that one day the cancer will recur and affect my health,” said a man from Nakadori, Fukushima Prefecture. The man is from Nakadori in central Fukushima Prefecture and works for a company in Tokyo. Although he has to take medication for the rest of his life, he says his health is good and his work is fulfilling.
 However, the fear of recurrence or metastasis always haunts him. What if I lose my voice or my health deteriorates to the point where I can no longer work? I can’t think about the future,” he says. At first, she was not positive about the trial, but now she hopes that she can help other children suffering from thyroid cancer by preserving a record of the facts of the trial.
 He was 19 years old when he found out he had thyroid cancer while attending a university in Tokyo. His father did not tell him that the doctor had told him that the cancer was highly malignant, had metastasized extensively, and that he might not live five years.
 Another doctor told him that it was “the same as what was seen in Chernobyl” and that it was “probably related to the nuclear accident. The father said, “When I told my son that he had cancer, he accepted it without hesitation. I cried inside. I shouldn’t have stayed in Fukushima,” he said. He still feels regret over not evacuating.
 At the age of 20, the man had one thyroid gland partially removed. Six months later, he had the entire thyroid removed, but it had spread to his lymph nodes, and the surgery lasted six hours. Because he was in the same position for a long time, he could not sleep after the surgery due to severe bedsore pain. Unable to speak or even complain about the pain, he endured it while connected to a tube. His heart sank, and he could not respond to his family’s words. She thought about death for the first time, saying, “It might be easier to die.
Shocked by the document “Contraception for 6 months
 At the age of 21, he underwent a third surgery for metastasis to the lymph nodes, and at the age of 24, the disease recurred. During radiation treatment after the surgery, he received a document that said, “Use contraception for six months. The man, who is married and wants to have children, was shocked that this might affect his children. The man said, “For the first time, I understood why fathers were angry about the nuclear accident and desperate to find a hospital for their children.
 The government and the Fukushima prefectural government have taken the position that a causal relationship between the thyroid cancers found in Fukushima Prefecture and the nuclear accident “cannot be recognized at this time. Since filing the lawsuit, the father has also sensed an atmosphere of discrimination directed toward the men and the other plaintiffs. Some people said, “Don’t put a damper on the good progress Fukushima is making,” and some of their acquaintances left them.
 After the nuclear accident, 301 young people were found to have thyroid cancer in surveys conducted by Fukushima Prefecture and other organizations. The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that the incidence of childhood thyroid cancer is dozens of times higher than usual and that a causal link to the nuclear accident is clear.
 The men say. If it wasn’t the nuclear accident, then what was it? If we don’t say anything, it will be assumed that nothing happened, and the facts will be buried. I want to make this a valuable trial.”
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/179323?fbclid=IwAR3-Lto8wP7XLmZQqRMSnkdxpRYlCwO9j4_PBFzLyDw6W351cTVC5vgeF9c

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Plaintiff diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the Fukushima nuclear accident: “I have suffered without telling anyone

The day the lawsuit was filed (January 27, 2022, courtesy of OurPlanetTV)

May 25, 2022
In January 2022, children who suffered from thyroid cancer and were living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, aged between 6 and 16, became plaintiffs and filed a lawsuit against TEPCO, claiming that their thyroid cancer was caused by the nuclear accident and demanding that the company clarify the causal relationship.

This is the first class action lawsuit filed against TEPCO 11 years after the accident, claiming the effects of radiation exposure.

All of the plaintiffs have had their thyroid glands removed, and four of the six have relapsed; the four who have undergone two or more surgeries and had their entire thyroid glands removed must continue to take hormone medication for the rest of their lives. Another child has been diagnosed with distant metastasis to the lungs.

We interviewed one of the plaintiffs, who said, “I have suffered for the past 11 years without being able to tell anyone. (Writer: Chia Yoshida)
Announcement of acceptance with the possibility of exposure to radiation

Sawa Mukai (15 years old at the time of the accident, pseudonym) was an athletic child who was affected by the disaster on March 11, 2011, the day of her junior high school graduation ceremony. She recalls how eerie it was to see a blizzard immediately after the earthquake, followed by a sky that suddenly cleared up.

The next day, she helped clean up a relative’s house that had been completely destroyed by the earthquake. The road in front of the relative’s house was jammed with cars heading in a westerly direction.

It was strange because there is not usually a lot of traffic on this road, but when I thought about it later, I realized that they were cars evacuating from the nuclear power plant,” Mukai said.

On March 12, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 exploded, Unit 3 exploded on March 14, Unit 2 was in a critical condition, and Unit 4 exploded on March 15.

The next day, March 16, was the announcement of acceptance to high schools in Fukushima. Many junior high school students in the prefecture went out to the high schools they had applied to in order to check their numbers.

Although many teachers and staff members were opposed to the announcement of acceptance in the midst of the possibility of children being exposed to radiation, the prefecture decided to go ahead with the announcement. Mr. Mukai was one of those who had no choice but to go to the acceptance announcement.

Kenichi Ido, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, points out that “elementary and junior high school students who were unprotected at the time of the accident were exposed to radiation, which may have led to their illnesses.

“We often hear stories of students who were engaged in club activities as usual, or who went to the March 16th prefectural high school acceptance announcement,” he said. The government has assumed that there are no health hazards caused by the nuclear accident, but this is not the case,” said Ido.
Even if the radiation dose rate is above the standard value, “Oh, well…

The risk of radiation exposure lurked even in high school.

Although Ms. Mukai was fond of sports, she gave up her outdoor sports club, which she had planned to join. His mother was concerned that he should not be exposed to radiation as much as possible.

Although warning poles were placed at hot spots (areas with locally elevated radiation levels) on campus to alert people to the danger, once they became accustomed to the area, everyone began to pass by them.

Gradually, no one would wear masks to avoid internal exposure. Mr. Mukai wore a mask until the end, but in the summer of 2011, he began to remove it because it was too hot.

At the time, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) had a standard for school grounds that they could only be used if the air dose rate was “less than 3.8 μSv per hour,” but “It’s over. But I once heard a teacher say, “Well, that’s OK.

The radiation level at home was also high. In some places, the radiation levels were 100 times higher than before the accident. Even indoors, the levels were 60 times higher than before the accident. The family decontaminated the area with a high-pressure washer, but the levels did not go down that much.

Mr. Mukai was unable to join an athletic team, so he focused on his schoolwork, aiming to attend a university in Tokyo. Thanks to his efforts, he was accepted with a recommendation. She was so happy that she started living in Tokyo in early March (before entering university),” she smiles.
I will never forget the doctor’s words: “There is no cause-and-effect relationship between the nuclear accident and my life.

There were many places to play in Tokyo, I started a part-time job, and my new life was enjoyable.

However, around that time, she began to experience some physical problems. Her body swelled, her menstrual periods became irregular, she gained weight, and her skin became rough. And when she swallowed water or saliva, she felt discomfort in her throat.

When she consulted her mother, she was told that it might be a thyroid-related condition and that she should get checked out as soon as possible. Mr. Mukai was busy with university classes and other obligations, so he missed the second thyroid checkup conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government.

Soon after, Ms. Mukai took the test along with other children at a large-scale thyroid screening site in Fukushima Prefecture. The test took only a minute or so for the others, but the process stopped at Mr. Mukai’s spot.

While applying the echo, Ms. Mukai saw the doctor nod his head and wondered if something was wrong.

Later, the results arrived at his parents’ home, and his mother contacted Mr. Mukai in Tokyo to inform him of the “reexamination. Fukushima Medical University called her twice and asked her to retest immediately. Ms. Mukai said that by that time she had a dim feeling that she might have thyroid cancer.

In the fall of 2015, he was told at the hospital that he had thyroid cancer. Mukai will never forget being told by the doctor that there was no causal relationship between the nuclear accident and the cancer, even though he had not asked any questions at the time.

I wondered how they could possibly know that,” Mukai said.

She then underwent surgery to remove the left half of her thyroid gland at the age of 20.
He was 20 years old. “I hope that other sufferers will be in a situation where they can raise their voices,” he said.

In consideration of his health condition, he quit the part-time job he had enjoyed.

After graduating from university, he found a job, but his health deteriorated due to the hard work. She quit the job she had longed for, and now works at a job that is less demanding on her body.

If her numbers worsen, she has to resume taking her medication, and she lives her life constantly worrying about her health.

I gave up a lot of things myself, but there are many more people younger than me who had to make the choice to give up,” Mukai said.

People who dropped out of college. Some have dropped out of college, others have been unable to find work. Some confided in me that they had given up on love and marriage and could not even think about falling in love with someone. I was shocked by all of them.

As she recounted her own experiences, Ms. Mukai was considerate of the other plaintiffs and those who had contracted thyroid cancer but were not plaintiffs.

There is a situation where other small children cannot speak up,” she said. I hope that by raising our voices this time, other sufferers will be able to speak out,” said Mukai.

The incidence of childhood thyroid cancer is generally said to be “1 to 2 per million children.

However, in Fukushima Prefecture, according to a prefectural survey, 273 children were diagnosed with suspected malignant (cancerous) thyroid cancer through cytological puncture diagnosis, and 226 children have already undergone surgery. When national cancer registries and regional cancer registries are combined, more than 300 people have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The aforementioned lawyer Ido also commented, “In Fukushima Prefecture today, people cannot talk about the fact that they have thyroid cancer because it is a sensitive issue, and they are isolated from the rest of the community.

Ms. Mukai, too, had only been able to talk about her thyroid cancer to those close to her. However, this changed when she decided to file the lawsuit. As a result of calling for support for the trial through crowdfunding, he raised approximately 17.62 million yen, far exceeding his goal of 10 million yen.

I was very happy that 1,966 people donated to the trial and sent messages of support. The other plaintiffs were also happy,” said Mukai.

My fears that I would be discriminated against or that I would not be understood were slightly allayed.

On the other hand, however, on the same day that the lawsuit was filed, five former prime ministers, including Junichiro Koizumi and Naoto Kan, sent a letter to the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, stating that “many children are suffering from thyroid cancer,” to which incumbent Diet members and Fukushima Prefecture Governor Masao Uchibori protested, calling the information “false,” “inappropriate,” and “regrettable. The letter was sent to the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU).

They said, “We are surprised and indignant that you would make such a statement even though you know that there are children who have developed thyroid cancer. Because I have seen other plaintiffs who are truly suffering, that statement was unforgivable,” said Mukai.

Mukai, who felt that this trial would not be an easy one, has continued to consider the causal relationship between the nuclear accident and thyroid cancer by attending study sessions with experts and reading the complaint.

Among the plaintiffs, there were some who were so mentally distressed that they could not eat rice, and this made me feel more strongly that something had to be done.

I believe that there is a causal relationship between the accident and thyroid cancer, and although I cannot do it alone, I would like to fight the trial in cooperation with the plaintiffs and the defense team,” said Mukai.

The first oral argument will be held at the Tokyo District Court on May 26 at 14:00. Plaintiffs are scheduled to make statements.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers in the thyroid cancer trial are seeking continued support for the trial through the crowdfunding service “READYFOR.

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).
https://www.bengo4.com/c_18/n_14499/?fbclid=IwAR3_UvXqIe0qKimhfOjjsd4cx4PD48RIaSElF8EjAVvOJDxjorxy7JYE2QM

May 29, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Payouts for nuclear disaster in urgent need of revamp

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

May 12, 2022

The government’s committee overseeing compensation for victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has begun considering whether existing guidelines for payouts should be revised upward.

Established in the aftermath of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the guidelines have long been denounced as woefully inadequate in light of the impact of the unprecedented accident. The committee’s decision comes far too late. Many victims are now advanced in years and there is no time to waste in revamping the guidelines.

The criteria for amounts to be paid out were drawn up in August 2011 by the government’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation as “interim guidelines.” To expedite payments, the panel set general rules concerning eligibility based on categories of damages.

The guidelines, last reviewed in December 2013, are supposed to indicate minimum amounts of compensation for different types of damages. The utility is supposed to determine the actual sums to be paid after considering the special circumstances of individual victims.

Thirty or so group lawsuits have been filed by victims asserting that estimates of damages based on this method were insufficient. The plaintiffs are also seeking to hold the government liable for damages.

More than 10,000 people are involved in these legal actions. A series of rulings by district and high courts since 2017 granted higher damages to the plaintiffs than the estimates based on the guidelines. Seven of the rulings against plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. were finalized by the Supreme Court this spring.

The cases deal with different issues. Some supported the argument that all plaintiffs in a certain area should be compensated for mental stress due to their “loss of homes,” meaning they were deprived of their livelihoods and community life. These rulings represent judicial recognition of certain kinds of damages common to many local residents that are not covered by the guidelines. The guidelines should at least be changed to address these issues. Fukushima Prefecture and other local administrative authorities have urged the central government to review the criteria based on the court decisions.

In a belated move, the committee decided to analyze the rulings and identify types of damages not covered by the guidelines. This is a necessary process, but more needs to be done. The panel should confront the diverse and complicated realities resulting from years of living in forced evacuation.

Many victims have not filed lawsuits despite their unhappiness with damage payments offered by TEPCO. The plaintiffs of the rulings contend that the amounts granted by the courts are still insufficient. The committee should listen to the opinions of the victims and local administrations involved and examine a broad range of cases. It should not hesitate to make necessary adjustments to the guidelines in line with the realities.

This problem is an acid test for TEPCO’s commitment to supporting victims of the disaster. The company has consistently refused to pay compensation beyond the amounts based on the guidelines in both class action lawsuits and in mediations by a government dispute-settlement body. It has apparently decided to wait for the committee’s decision. As the company responsible for the disastrous accident, TEPCO’s stance toward the issue raises serious doubt about its awareness of its obligation to make genuine efforts to provide relief to victims.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is effectively the primary shareholder of the utility under state control, must instruct the company to address the problem with sincerity.

The central government and TEPCO should not forget that they bear the grave responsibility to make all possible efforts to fully compensate victims for damages caused by the nuclear disaster.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14619116

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Review the standards for compensation for nuclear accidents based on the reality of the situation

Plaintiffs march in front of the High Court decision on the nuclear power plant evacuation lawsuit.

May 12, 2022
A government panel has begun to consider whether to review the guidelines for compensation for damages caused by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The guidelines were created immediately after the accident, and their inadequacies have been repeatedly pointed out since then. It must be said that it is too late. Many of the victims are elderly, and the revision of the guidelines needs to be hastened.

 In August 2011, the Nuclear Damage Dispute Review Panel compiled an interim guideline for compensation. The guidelines were last reviewed in December 2001, and the general framework has not changed since then. The TEPCO was supposed to determine the amount of compensation by taking into account the individual circumstances of each victim.

 However, about 30 class-action lawsuits have been filed against TEPCO based on this system, alleging that the company’s compensation is inadequate and questioning the responsibility of the government and other parties. Since 2005, the district and high courts have ordered the defendants to pay more than the calculated amount, and in seven of the cases, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of TEPCO this spring.

Although the content of the judgments differed from each other, there were several cases in which the court found that the plaintiffs in a certain area had suffered psychological damage due to the loss of their hometowns, which deprived them of their livelihood and local communities. It can be said that the judiciary recognized the existence of collective damages that the guidelines did not grasp. At the very least, it is essential to revise the guidelines in this area. Fukushima Prefecture and other local governments are also calling on the government to review the guidelines in light of the court decision.

 The Board of Inquiry has finally gotten around to analyzing the content of the court decisions and identifying the types of damages that are omitted from the guidelines. This is necessary work, but it is not the only thing that needs to be done. It is necessary to face the reality of the damage, which is becoming more diverse and complex due to the prolonged evacuation.

 Even if they were not satisfied with the amount of compensation TEPCO had awarded them, many of the victims did not take the matter to court. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit also claim that the amount awarded in the judgment is still inadequate. The Board should also listen to the opinions of the victims and local governments involved and scrutinize a wide range of cases. If there are parts of the guidelines that do not match the actual situation, the Board should not hesitate to revise them.

 TEPCO’s stance is also questionable. TEPCO has stubbornly refused to provide uniform compensation that exceeds the guidelines in class action lawsuits and in settlement mediation procedures conducted by government agencies. It is questionable whether TEPCO is aware of its responsibility as the company that caused the tragic accident to take the initiative in seeking compensation. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, which is in effect the major shareholder of TEPCO, is required to strictly instruct TEPCO to take a sincere approach.

 It must do everything in its power to make amends to the victims until they are fully compensated. We must not forget that this is the heavy responsibility placed on the government and TEPCO.

https://www.asahi.com/articles/DA3S15291024.html?iref=pc_photo_gallery_bottom

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

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).
https://www.bengo4.com/c_18/n_14414/?fbclid=IwAR0tC3Wv4waE-11sRewA_DCDDB6AbL_NwHW8gSbtHRze0koA5jgMVQ-inL4

May 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Ruling pressures Japan to set proper damages for Fukushima nuclear disaster

March 19, 2022 (Mainichi Japan)

The amount of compensation has been finalized in a series of class-action lawsuits brought by people affected by the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station managed by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings (TEPCO). The Supreme Court rejected appeals filed by TEPCO in six cases.

It is a message from the judiciary that relief for victims of the unprecedented nuclear disaster is insufficient. In each of the cases, the amounts awarded exceeded the compensation standards set by the Japanese government. The administration should seriously take the judicial decision to heart, and the standards should be revised immediately.

According to the government’s standards, people who lived in what are now called “difficult-to-return” zones are entitled to 14.5 million yen (about $121,600) in compensation, while those who evacuated voluntarily are entitled to damages of 80,000 yen (about $670). The amount was determined with reference to liability insurance for traffic accidents.

However, those who were forced to evacuate or otherwise relocate were deprived of their lives in their hometowns and local community ties. And people who continued to live in those areas were unable to engage in agriculture, fishing or other such lines of work.

In six high court cases, the courts increased the amounts of compensation to several million yen above the government’s standards and expanded the areas eligible for compensation, among other measures. They judged that the government standards did not set compensation high enough for people who had lost the basis for their livelihoods and had seen their hometowns utterly transformed.

In particular, in a ruling on one case with about 3,600 plaintiffs, the court set compensation amounts by evacuation zone and area. There is accordingly room for those who did not take part in the suit to file for compensation in the future.

To advance relief in line with the actual situations of victims, there is an urgent need to raise the government’s standards and expand the areas eligible for redress. Local bodies in affected areas are also calling for reviews.

Meanwhile, TEPCO’s response is being questioned anew.

In court, TEPCO maintained that it could not accept compensation that exceeded the standards. It even went as far as to claim that the current standards were too high.

The nuclear disaster compensation system is not premised on a presumption of negligence by TEPCO. Yet there have been rulings pointing out inadequate safety measures. The company’s responsibility is extremely heavy.

TEPCO’s three pledges for compensation are: 1) Be sure every eligible person receives payment; 2) Be sure that compensation is given promptly and accurately; 3) Defer to the proposals of mediators on settlements. It should faithfully carry these pledges out.

Eleven years have passed since the outbreak of the nuclear disaster, and many people still have no option but to stay where they have evacuated to. A significant number have decided to relocate permanently to other areas. The government and TEPCO have a responsibility to compensate the people who suffered damage in good faith.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220319/p2a/00m/0op/007000c

March 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment