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Damages Suit of The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Kyoto

Wearing radiation protection suits to visit a family grave

On the 11th of March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear accident spread radioactive contamination widely over the east of Japan. The ICRP maximum allowable dose from human-made radioactivity, accepted internationally and confirmed in Japanese law, is 1mSv/year. But the government made the level 20 times higher for Fukushima citizens, including infants, children, and pregnant women; and they discouraged people from leaving. This is 4 times higher than the evacuation level in Chernobyl.

Evacuees had to leave their home areas and their hopes for the future were dashed. Their main concern is to protect children's lives and health. People have been exposed to invisible radiation, and are affected by illnesses including child cancers; suicide, family conflict, bullying and poverty, but everything is treated as the individual's own responsibility, despite the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency Situation still being in force. Nuclear disaster creates an enormous amount of wide-spread pollution, and sever damage is continuing.

Most of the plaintiffs in the law suits lived in the 'radiation controlled area' which has soil contamination over 40,000Bq/m2, so evacuation needs to continue. The plaintiffs sued the Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) in order to make their responsibility clear, in the hope this kind of disaster will never happen again, and also to get proper compensation.

Over 12,000 Fukushima victims have filed 30 cases in different regions against the government and TEPCO. Six courts have so far judged that the plaintiffs have the right to evacuate and admitted the right to compensation. In the Kyoto regional court the judgement was made in March 2018. But the government and TEPCO have appealed. They don't accept their responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Preparations are now being made for the Osaka high court.

A pile of black container bags containing highly contaminated soil

Over 12,000 Fukushima victims have filed 30 cases in different regions against the government and TEPCO:

175 plaintiffs from 58 households who evacuated to Kyoto filed a suit in the Kyoto District Court against the Japanese government and TEPCO for damages.

The first appeal: 33 household/ 91 plaintiffs on the 17th September 2013
The second appeal :20 household/ 53 plaintiffs on the 7th March 2014
The third appeal: 11 household/ 31 plaintiffs on the 7th July 2015.

The purpose of this court case:
  1. To ensure strict observance of the national law in Japan which gives the maximum allowable radioactive dose for the public of 1mSv/year. The defendant should admit that citizens have the right to evacuate from the contaminated areas where the official dose limit is exceeded.
  2. To clarify the government and TEPCO's responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear accident.
  3. The government and TEPCO should give compensation for damaging the victims' stable lives through the nuclear disaster.
  4. The government and TEPCO should provide permanent measures for all nuclear victims, especially children, including: medical security, radioactive dose check-ups, housing support and employment measures.
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