March 5, 2021
The commune of Iitaté, located beyond the 30 km radius, was evacuated late. The order to evacuate was announced on April 11, 2011 and the inhabitants had one month to leave. During this time, those who had not left the area by themselves were exposed to radioactive fallout.
29 residents of Iitaté filed a lawsuit against TEPCo and the State and asked for 200 million yen of damages because the authorities had told them at the beginning of the disaster that it was not necessary to leave. The lack of information about the increase in radiation levels deprived them of their right to evacuate and left them unnecessarily exposed.
They also claim that the subsequent evacuation of the entire village caused them to lose their homes and farms, destroyed their community and deprived them of their hometown.
The leader of the plaintiffs, Kanno Hiroshi, says that he has developed illnesses over the past ten years and that concerns about the effects of radiation will never go away. He holds the government and the plant operator responsible.
This is the first class action suit filed to seek compensation for radiation exposure during the early days of the nuclear accident.
It should be noted that the first independent measurements carried out by ACRO in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear disaster concerned Iitaté. See the results and the press release of the time. These results showed an alarming situation.
ACRO wrote that iodine-131 contamination was preponderant, with levels such that it would be prudent to evacuate the village of Iitate: at the place called Maeda, we had detected 1.9 million becquerels per square meter. Regarding radioactive cesium, almost all the areas monitored by ACRO were above the limits set in Belarus for migration.