Oral opinion statement
From one of the representatives of the plaintiffs: Atsuko Fukushima
14th December 2018
The Government and TEPCO are intending to abandon the plaintiffs.
If we can't win this trial, we cannot obtain the right to escape from radiation released by the spread of radioactive materials.
We didn't evacuate voluntarily. We didn't have any choice except to evacuate.
We didn't want to leave our home towns. The beautiful environment there was polluted by radiation. However the Government and TEPCO are coldly mocking evacuees from outside official evacuation zones, saying that we expect zero risk even though they say radiation exposure is not at a level which has been confirmed to cause health effects. Why do we have to accept exposure until our health does get damaged?
The Government and TEPCO keep controlling people's minds through local authorities, the media and education, in order to delete awareness of the existence of radiation exposure and contamination since radioactive materials were released, beginning on the 11th of March 2011 and including the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
They labelled us, suggesting that evacuees are peculiar people who just run away from their anxiety. The Government and TEPCO wanted as much as possible to pretend that the nuclear disaster hadn't happened. To further this, they forced out evacuees from accommodation which had been provided as support, thereby endangering victims' lives. Although they have been criticised for their violation of the International Human Rights Law, this hasn't been made known to the Japanese nation.
The Government finally admitted the increase in child thyroid cancer, but they still haven't accepted that it is caused by radioactive materials from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
We cannot possibly forgive Government measures which prioritise economics over our lives, including the lives of the three original judges. Nobody should forgive it.
When we realised that the Government will not protect children even though they have their future in front of them, we realised that we have to protect our families, especially children, by ourselves. We had to weigh in the balance many aspects of life, and made the health of our children and our elderly parents the top priority. We haven't done anything unusual in the circumstances. Radiation can't be seen or felt, causing terrible fear. It is right that we evacuated as the only way to avoid it. The nuclear disaster hasn't ended yet, and this dangerous situation still continues. How can we return?
Disabled people had to make the especially difficult decision to evacuate, knowing that their lives as evacuees would be extremely difficult. Some plaintiffs have reluctantly made the agonizing decision to return, adding to their suffering.
I hope that all judges will consider each individual plaintiff properly. When the disaster happened, the Government kept announcing "Radiation will have no immediate effect on your health." But when does "immediate" end?
Finally the Government has now started to admit the possibility of health effects, so we are right to seek to live safely and to avoid additional radioactive exposure as much as possible. The Government and TEPCO should change course, protect the whole nation's lives and accept their responsibility. We hope that the judges can think of this as their own issue too. This is also a matter for you. We urge that you admit our right to evacuate, but ultimately, we strongly request that you make the right decision based on the direct meeting of our lives and yours, openly and face to face.
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