Pannel 1 - Helping Nuclear Victims – Legal Cases

M. Sekine and N. Nakase

A report on litigations regarding Fukushima nuclear victims

The Fukushima Nuclear Accident in 2011 has been contaminating the vast surrounding areas with radioactive materials, resulting in a wide-range of devastating damages and impacts for residents in the greater zone.

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) has started to compensate the affected population who meet certain criteria for their damages induced by the accident according to the Compensation Guideline set by the Japanese government. The Guideline, however, only provides extremely limited level of compensation for those who qualify, and moreover, it still leaves many “unqualified victims” without any forms of compensation. 

In addition, the Japanese government and TEPCO have consistently denied their legal responsibility for the accident, based on the claim that the tsunami, the primary cause of the accident, could not have been prevented in any case and that the health impact of radiation exposure remains negligible.

It should be noted that, prior to the accident, various experts had repeatedly alerted the Japanese government and TEPCO to the predicted scale of earthquake and tsunami and its severe impacts on the Fukushima Nuclear Plants. Despite the foreseeability of the catastrophe, they have failed to take necessary preventive measures. Six years after the accident, still, the abovementioned reluctance of “the perpetrators” is one of the critical factors that result in insufficiency of countermeasures in many aspects, such as decontamination and environmental restoration, compensation for damages, and recovering normal life of the affected population.

In view of this situation, we will report on the present situation of Fukushima and victims’ movements over litigation.

Natsuko Nakase

Miki Sekine