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  The judgement in Kyoto:  
 Japanese

The judgement in Kyoto was that the Government and TEPCO have responsibility for the nuclear accident. The right to evacuate for plaintiffs who have self- evacuated were accepted.

The plaintiffs of the Kyoto trial collectively claimed 846.6 million yen in damages. On the 15th of March 2018, the Kyoto district court ordered the payment of a combined 110 million yen (approximately $970,000 / €850,000 / £740,000) for 110 of the 174 plaintiffs, but 64 were rejected, mainly children. Only three families' claims were rejected entirely. Although the compensation was an important acknowledgement of the principle, the amounts were largely a token payment. Each of the plaintiffs' awards were very different. None of the awards came anywhere near the actual losses of the plaintiffs due to the disaster, which in papers submitted to the court included:
  • Loss of property (including homes, land, belongings etc.)
  • Loss of business activity and work
  • Damage to children (health, psychological issues, separation from friends and family)
  • Suffering caused by evacuation (financial, isolation, family breakdown, ostracism etc.)
  • A lifetime of anxiety about exposure to radioactivity
  • Being torn away from one's hometown and divisions caused between victims
  • No prospect of being able to return home
  • Costs of moving for evacuation
  • Extra living costs caused by evacuation
The average awarded was 1 million yen (approximately $8,840 / €7,700 / £6,700), but some got more, some much less. The highest was 5.5 million yen (approximately $48,000 / €42,000 / £37,000) for someone living very close to the plant; the lowest was 22,000 yen (approximately $194 / €170 / £150). Even so the Government and TEPCO appealed, meaning that they don't accept their responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the plaintiffs have not received anything. The appeal court will start on the 14th December 2018 at the Osaka high court.

'Admit the right to evacuate. Protect children's future!' Plaintiffs and lawyers marching to the Kyoto District court.
'Admit the right to evacuate. Protect children's future!' Plaintiffs and lawyers marching to the Kyoto District court.

Letter from joint representatives of the plaintiffs in The Damages Suit, Kyoto
Yukimi Hagiwara and Atsuko Fukushima

Dear supporters,

On the 15th of March 2018, the first decision of the Kyoto trial was delivered in beautiful spring sunshine.

Many people of the world are concerned with the judgement in our case. The decision made the Government and TEPCO's responsibility clear. However, three families' claims were rejected. Therefore, we have won partially. Memories of our efforts over five years came to us and it brought tears to our eyes.

Our right to evacuate was accepted, but for only two years. But the judge showed that the assessment of losses was particular to each plaintiff. The areas where we were accepted to evacuate from expanded to include Aizu, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi. However, we do not accept that the amount of compensation for damages meets our losses.

Hundreds of people and the media gathered on the day of the judge's decision at the court.
Hundreds of people and the media gathered on the day of the judge's decision at the court.

It is very important that our Kyoto trial, which lasted five years, was finally recognised through strong relationships between the Kyoto plaintiffs, lawyers, supporters and plaintiffs in different regions. The lawyers defeated the Government and TEPCO's defence using a highly professional and technical approach, with great attention to detail - and the plaintiffs spoke out bravely together.

Our supporters have been helping with our trial and offering care and support. We could feel that their thoughts were always with us. They queued for public seats every day the case was in court, even though the examination of witnesses happened three times in two months. They campaigned with us in rough weather, collected signatures, and organised events so that we could appeal directly to the public when we took action against stopping housing support.

With our fighting spirit all the plaintiffs will appeal to the Osaka High Court for compensation for damages and to win evacuation rights.
We hope that you will keep walking with us until we win completely.

Public Meeting to Report the Judgement, Kyoto

Lawyers show the judgement to the audience outside the court.'The Government's responsibility was accepted.'
Lawyers show the judgement to the audience outside the court.'The Government's responsibility was accepted.'

On the day of the judgement, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs Mr Hiroshi Kawanaka said 'government responsibility was recognised by the judgement. If the Tokyo trial builds on our judgment tomorrow, government responsibility will be established as a fact. Our judgement can be taken a step to drive the government and TEPCO into a corner. We will try hard to win a permanent solution."

The secretary-general of the plaintiff's lawyers group, Mr Yasuo Tanabe said "We can't be pleased, because some plaintiffs were rejected. However, it is important that the judge accepted the government's responsibility. Firstly, the plaintiffs want to be confirmed in their decisions to evacuate and to file a lawsuit. They urge the Government and TEPCO to positively support them. The judgement was one more step to making this a reality. The government should stop fighting this in court and apologise to the evacuees."

Ms Fukushima, who is a representative of the Plaintiffs of the Damages Suit, Kyoto, said, "The judgement admitted we have the right to not be exposed to radiation. We want them to negotiate with us and apologise to us."
Mrs Hagiwara, who is another representative, said "Not all plaintiffs' cases were accepted, it was so depressing. But I am pleased that the right to evacuate from some areas outside of Fukushima were admitted."

Public meeting
Public meeting

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