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Fukushima District Court Submits Motion to Reopen Argument in Evacuee Removal Trial (October 21, 2022)

October 24, 2022

On July 26, the Fukushima District Court, which had forced the conclusion of the trial for eviction of evacuees from their homes without conducting any proper proceedings, notified us on October 17 that it would deliver the verdict at 11:40 a.m. on October 27.

In response to this notice, the defendant evacuees submitted a petition to the Fukushima District Court to reopen the trial to ensure that the defendant evacuees have the “right to a trial” guaranteed by the Constitution.

The full text of the petition can be found here.

The beginning and end of the motion are as follows
Introduction

Ms. Cecilia Jimenez Damary, the UN Special Rapporteur appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the human rights situation of evacuees (internally displaced persons) from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident and report to the UN Human Rights Council, visited Japan from September 26 to October 7 to conduct an investigation. When she left Japan, she gave an interview to Kyodo News, in which she said, “I do not agree with the lawsuit filed by Fukushima Prefecture demanding the evacuation of voluntary evacuees who continue to live in public employee housing even after the end of support (this is exactly what this court case is about). I can’t agree with it. It could be a violation of the human rights of the evacuees,” she warned (see attachment for photos and details of the interview below).

This is the first full-scale investigation of evacuees from the nuclear power plant accident by the UN, and in the course of the investigation, the UN Special Rapporteur also warned that “I do not agree with this lawsuit. The UN Special Rapporteur stated for the first time, “I do not agree with this lawsuit. It could be a violation of the human rights of the evacuees. This reference is in line with the defendants’ consistent assertion throughout the trial that “this action violates the right of residence guaranteed to internally displaced persons by international human rights law and is therefore inadmissible. In other words, the defendants’ argument was shown to be in line with the common sense of the world.

The court, by the way, has ignored or rejected every one of the six defenses and the thorough clarification of the facts through the examination of six witnesses and other parties, despite the fact that the defendants have been seeking relief from the human rights violations committed by the plaintiffs. On July 26, the trial was terminated. However, the serious concerns expressed by UN Special Rapporteur Damarie about the trial have reminded the defendants that the trial is a serious test not only for us in Japan, but also for the people and common sense of the world, and that failure is not an option. Therefore, in order to show that this trial is worthy of the world’s common sense, the Court must listen carefully to the world’s attention and common sense, decide to reopen the arguments, and conduct a thorough and true examination of the six issues and six interrogatories to ensure that the defendants’ “right to a fair and impartial trial” is guaranteed. We are now convinced that we have no other choice but to strive for a thorough clarification of the truth through the examination of the six defendants.

Therefore, for the reasons stated below, the defendants request the court to reopen the oral argument pursuant to Article 153 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Conclusion

As stated above, if, despite the defendants’ earnest request, the court does not reopen oral argument and conduct the examination of witnesses requested by the defendants for the purpose of clarifying the truth, and if the court does not exercise its right of proper explanation to the plaintiff, and if the plaintiff continues to refuse to admit or deny or refute the defendants’ defense facts above, such plaintiff’s Not only does the boycott itself constitute an illegal act under the National CALI Act, but the root cause of this situation is the court’s negligence in not actively working to correct the plaintiff’s dishonest and illegal boycott of the issue. Therefore, if the court had not resolved this boycott and had denied all of the defendants’ applications for examination of witnesses and themselves without allowing the defendants to fully argue and prove the above defense facts, the court would have concluded the trial and issued a judgment, which would have been inevitable because of “the illegality of non-exhaustion of trial due to failure to exercise the right of explanation” and the judgment would have been reversed. The reversal of the judgment is inevitable.

Not only that, despite the fact that the defendants have repeatedly and strongly demanded that the illegal state of affairs be corrected, it is unacceptable for the court to continue to turn its back on them and refuse to exercise its right of explanation to the plaintiffs for the purpose of clarifying the issues. In this case, we strongly request the court’s decision to resume oral arguments.

 Judge Masayuki Fujiyama, who once distinguished himself in the Administrative Division of the Tokyo District Court, said, “A jurist’s work must be able to withstand not only contemporaneous but also historical evaluation. These words literally apply to this trial. Moreover, it is an evaluation of world history, not merely Japanese history. The words of the UN Special Rapporteur Damarie at the beginning of this article demonstrate this point. This trial must not become a stain on world history.
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October 31, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan: Support for those displaced by Fukushima nuclear disaster must be unconditional, says UN expert

GENEVA (10 October 2022) – A UN expert has urged the Japanese government to give unqualified, human rights and needs-based support to the more than 30,000 people still displaced 11 years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.That approach must also apply to reconstruction in affected areas.

“Many displaced persons are unable or unwilling to return to their areas of origin due to lingering fears regarding radiation levels, or concerns about access to basic services including education, healthcare, and jobs in these areas,” said Cecilia Jiménez-Damary, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The expert emphasised there could be no distinction made between IDPs – also known as “evacuees” in Japan – on the basis of whether their displacement was motivated by fear of the effects of the disaster or due to a mandatory evacuation order.

“Protection and assistance to IDPs must be provided on the basis of their human rights and their needs, and not on the basis of status-based categorisations, which have no justification under international human rights law,” Jiménez-Damary said in a statement presenting her preliminary observations from a 10-day visit to Japan.

“All IDPs have the same rights and entitlements as citizens of Japan, and the practice of allocating support based on whether IDPs are categorised as ‘mandatory’ or ‘voluntary’ must end.”

Since the 2011 disaster, IDPs have faced challenges in accessing basic rights, including housing, health, livelihood, participation, and education for children. “To enable durable solutions, conditions must be in place to ensure their right to an adequate standard of living including housing, access to employment and livelihoods, and effective remedy for displacement-related rights violations, including in places of origin to which they are being asked to return,” the Special Rapporteur said.

Accurate information was essential for the evacuees to make informed decisions on whether to return or settle elsewhere. It was also critical to ensure their right to freely choose the most appropriate durable solution is not impeded by policies that make assistance conditional on return.

“For IDPs who remain in evacuation, there should be continued basic support, especially provision of housing assistance to the most vulnerable households and support for all IDPs achieve sustainable livelihoods,” the Special Rapporteur said.

She urged authorities to adopt an area-based approach to the reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture covering the needs and rights of both IDPs and remaining residents. “To rebuild social cohesion, it is essential that both IDPs and the current residents of Fukushima Prefecture engage in dialogue and are provided with full information and are able to freely participate in decisions related to reconstruction,” the expert said.

The Special Rapporteur visited Tokyo and the prefectures of Fukushima, Kyoto, and Hiroshima and met with executive and legislative officials, civil society organisations, lawyers, and academic researchers. She also heard from internally displaced persons and communities affected by the nuclear disaster.

A comprehensive report on the Special Rapporteur’s visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2023.

ENDS

Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons by the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2016. A human rights lawyer specialized in forced displacement and migration, she has over three decades of experience in NGO human rights advocacy. Her mandate, which covers all countries, has been recently renewed by resolution 50/6 of the Human Rights Council.

As a Special Rapporteur, she is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Read the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

UN Human Rights country page: Japan

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/10/japan-support-those-displaced-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-must-be?fbclid=IwAR1d60dn49OUcePSNjremA1Z9FsAfZ1E8GJt87ThF6EJ9Ner1qNqlfxZNic

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment