Victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to get fair and prompt justice? Investigation by Tsutomu Kirishima

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Victims of Fukushima nuclear power plant accident issue a complaint class action against US based General Electric

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While a trial asking for the responsibility of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident that occurred throughout the country, Japanese plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in the US court pursuing the responsibility of US nuclear reactor manufacturers. At trial in the United States, the amount of compensation may exceed tens of billions to one trillion yen (upper costs are nearly 9 billion dollars) . Will it lead to relief of the victims? Journalist Tsutomu Kirishima investigated.

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A complaint was filed in the United States District Court in Boston, Massachusetts in mid-November 2017. In the plaintiff column of the 49-page complaint written in English as “request for class action suit and jury trial”, three people living in Fukushima prefecture and Ibaraki prefecture and six corporations have names. The Defendant is…

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Fukushima to scale down radiation tests on rice

All part of the now 6 years ongoing denial campaign of the Japanese Government, denying the harmful effects of internal radiation and that even at low dose level, meant to calm down the fears of the local population, and to prepare the venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and also to incite other countries to lift their import restrictions and radiation testing of the Eastern Japan produce.
dec 7 2017 reducing rice testing.jpg
Authorities in Fukushima plan to scale down radiation tests on rice harvested in the prefecture.
 
Since the nuclear accident in March 2011, the local government has spent 6 billion yen – or about 53 million dollars – every year to check radiation levels of all rice produced in Fukushima.
 
The tests require farmers to transport their harvest to a testing facility. Samples with radiation levels higher than the government-set limit have not been detected since 2015.
 
An expert panel convened in July to review the testing system and survey the opinions of consumers.
 
Based on the panel’s recommendations, local authorities have decided to replace full-scale testing with sample inspections in 47 of the Fukushima’s 59 municipalities.
 
The remaining 12 municipalities are located around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
 
Authorities have yet to decide when they will switch from full-scale to sample testing. Officials say they will take a decision in February.
 
Rice is the only produce from Fukushima to be tested systematically. All other agricultural and marine products undergo sample testing.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics costs skyrocket because of Fukushima nuclear reconstruction

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Construction of the main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is underway in Japan, despite the fact that the final budget for the games still hasn’t been locked down. Recent estimates have put the total Tokyo Olympic bill at around $13 billion, but now it looks like that figure will soon be cut drastically.

CGTN’s Steve Ross reports.

“We were already able to reduce the venue cost by more than $2 billion,” Maya Takaya of the Tokyo Organizing Committee said.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics originally unveiled an audacious main stadium design by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, but the design was ultimately rejected as too costly. Sustainability has also become a key issue for taxpayers, with the committee expanding the use of existing venues from 40 to 60 percent.

A key problem is that various costs, including anti-terrorism security and augmented transportation facilities…

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A Call for Working Together to Enact the Chernobyl Law in Japan

By Masami Ueno (Director of Fukushima-Iseshima Association)
 
Fukushima-Isehima Association is a Non-Profit Organization located in Mie Prefecture in Japan. We have been helping the evacuees (be it forced or volunteered) from Fukushima to settle in Mie Prefecture and providing the children of Fukushima with recuperation programs in Mie since March 2011. We also send fresh vegetables to families in Fukushima.  
 
Our activities mentioned above have been supported by generous donations and grants. However, after six years have passed, we have realized that what private organizations—like ours—can do is limited. Yet, our activities are still necessary for many people since radiation continues to be released into the air every day as the result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Then, the question is how we can tackle with such an unprecedented scale of disaster. To be honest, we are at a loss. However, there are two important precedents we should follow. 
 
The first instance is the Chernobyl Law that was established by the government of the former Soviet Union for the people affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in order to protect their lives and health from radiation. The Chernobyl Law is also the first law in the world that manifests the universal human rights to the life of the people affected by the radiation disaster. We believe that Japan must enact the law equivalent to the Chernobyl Law.  
 
Another instance is Japan’s Freedom of Information Law that was established by the government of Japan in 1999. This law was the product of the accumulated efforts made by the citizens all over Japan; those citizens requested their own local governments and members of the city councils to enact the Freedom of Information Law at the municipal levels. This citizen movement eventually led to the enactment of this law at the national level. We can establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law by following this history and experience of the civil actions that eventually realized the Freedom of Information Law in Japan.
 
We would like to work together with many of you toward the enactment of Japan’s Chernobyl Law in order to protect our health and lives from the radiation disaster.
Please take a moment to read the following. We hope that you support our idea and join our effort to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
 
Five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the so-called “Chernobyl Law” was established by the former Soviet Union; it was then succeeded by the governments of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus after the dissolvement of the Soviets.  
 
All these governments have guaranteed the right to evacuation for the residents living in the contaminated areas by radiation, while providing the people living in the areas to which the evacuation orders were issued with the social security. The three countries are not necessarily in a sound economic situation; consequently, they are not able to fulfill all the compensations stimulated by the law. Nonetheless, the Chernobyl Law is still significant for human history as it identifies the government as the primary responsible for the nuclear disaster and guarantees the unconditional right to evacuation for the residents living in areas where one’s exposure to radiation would exceed 1 mSv/year.
 
On the other hand, the Japanese government raised the standard of public dose limit for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and continues to maintain the same dose limit as the safety standard, which turns to be the criteria for the government to lift the evacuation order today. 
 
Furthermore, the Fukushima Health Management Survey Committee has renounced the possibility of causal relation between the increasing number of thyroid cancers among the Fukushima children and radiation, and has never taken a drastic measurement for the health problems among the residents of Fukushima.
 
Japan’s radiation risk management policy considerably differs from that of the three former USSR countries, which set up 1 mSv/ year as the public dose limit for radiation exposure and provide the social security for the people who are diagnosed as a possible victim of the radiological consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
 
Immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the government of the former Soviet Union raised the standard of the public dose for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 100 mSv/year; and some experts insisted that 100 mSv/year was ‘safe’ even around the period where the Chernobyl Law was being established. However, the public dose limit was reversed to 1mSv/year, which is the international standard, because the nuclear power plant workers, who had dealt with the accident, fiercely opposed to the government’s policy of 100 mSv as the post-Chernobyl public dose limit. 
 
We, the citizens in Japan, too, experienced the nuclear catastrophe that reminded us of the dignity of life.
We must speak out and take actions in order to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
                                                          
May 2017
 
Please contact us if you like to work with us to draft a model plan and formulate a procedure to enact the law at the municipal level. The below is our contacts:
 
Email:
ueno_masami_1108@yahoo.co.jp(Masami Ueno)
noam@m6.dion.ne.jp(Toshio Yanagihara)
 

Fukushima Victims File Appeal, Contesting $1,500 Compensation Court Ruling

ghkl.jpgIn this March 11, 2011 file photo, waves are seen washing over a 10-meter-high breakwater and approaching the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Plaintiffs appeal ruling in Fukushima nuclear disaster damages suit

 
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Lawyers representing approximately 3,800 people suing the state and operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex for damages over the 2011 tsunami-triggered disaster appealed a lower court ruling Monday in hopes of securing greater compensation.
In its Oct. 10 ruling, the Fukushima District Court ordered the state and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay 500 million yen ($4.4 million) to about 2,900 of the 3,800 plaintiffs, an amount less than was sought by the disaster victims.
Also on Monday, the central government and Tepco filed an appeal to the same Sendai High Court arguing they should not be held liable for damages.
Izutaro Managi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the lower court ruling “clearly acknowledged the liability of the state” over the disaster but said that the “level and scope of compensation is insufficient.”
“We will seek compensation that better matches the actual damage” from the disaster, he said.
Managi said that the compensation awarded to the victims in the lower court ruling was far less than the maximum 200,000 yen per person sought by the plaintiffs.
The ruling did not accept claims by some of the plaintiffs, including those in western Fukushima Prefecture, the lawyer added when explaining the reason for the appeal.
The Fukushima District Court ruling was the second of its kind in a series of group lawsuits filed nationwide where the state and Tepco were found liable and ordered to pay damages over the world’s worst nuclear crises since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The court concluded that the state and Tepco failed to take steps to mitigate the risk of the tsunami damage caused by a powerful earthquake on March 11, 2011, even though they were able to foresee the possibility of such a disaster based on a quake assessment issued in 2002.
 
 

Fukushima victims appeal $1,500 compensation payouts

Hundreds of victims of Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster have appealed a court ruling hoping to secure larger compensation payouts, after being awarded roughly $1,520 each in a class action lawsuit against the Japanese government and the Fukushima plant operator.
On October 10, Fukushima District Court has ordered the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to pay about 500 million yen ($4.44 million) to some 2,900 victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
In its ruling on the lawsuit, filed by more than 3,800 plaintiffs, the court said that the authorities had failed to properly control TEPCO, which was found guilty of neglecting to adopt the necessary safety measures despite knowing of the risk of a massive tsunami in the region as early as 2002.
On Monday, all sides in the case – TEPCO, the government and the victims represented in the class-action lawsuit – challenged the court’s ruling.
Victims of the disaster say that the awarded liability costs do not represent the true amount of suffering reflected by the Fukushima survivors. The court failed to award 200,000 yen ($1,765) per person, which was the sum originally sought by the plaintiffs. The legal team furthermore stressed that in the initial ruling the court rejected claims by some of the victims, which mostly came from western Fukushima prefecture.
The Fukushima District Court ruling “clearly acknowledged the liability of the government” over the 2011 Fukushima disaster, but the “level and scope of compensation is insufficient,” Izutaro Managi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Monday after filing an appeal with the Sendai High Court.
“We will seek compensation that better matches the actual damage,” Managi added, as quoted by Japan Times.
Japan’s central government and TEPCO meanwhile also filed an appeal with the Sendai High Court, claiming that they are not liable to pay any damages to the victims, Japan Today reported.
In its appeal, Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency stressed that “it is impossible for the government to accept the court’s judgment as a result of an adjustment by relevant ministries and agencies.”
The October 10 court ruling was the second time a court in Japan has acknowledged the government’s liability for the Fukushima meltdown caused by the quake-triggered tsunami that hit the country in March 2011.
In March this year, Maebashi district court ordered the government and the operator to pay 38.55 million yen ($340,000) in damages to 62 plaintiffs who were evacuated to Gunma Prefecture. About 30 similar lawsuits involving 12,000 people are pending across the country.
 
 

Plaintiffs file appeal to win bigger payout over Fukushima nuclear disaster

Lawyers representing victims of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster hold up victory banners in front of the Fukushima District Court on Oct. 10.
KYODO – Lawyers representing approximately 3,800 people suing the government and Tepco for damages over the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster have appealed a lower court ruling in hopes of securing greater compensation.
Izutaro Managi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Monday after the appeal was filed in the Sendai High Court that the lower court ruling “clearly acknowledged the liability of the government” over the disaster, but the “level and scope of compensation is insufficient.”
“We will seek compensation that better matches the actual damage” from the disaster, he said.
In its Oct. 10 ruling, the Fukushima District Court ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay ¥500 million to about 2,900 of the 3,800 plaintiffs, less than sought by the disaster victims.
The central government and Tepco also filed an appeal with the Sendai High Court arguing they should not be held liable for damages.
Managi said the compensation awarded by the lower court was far less than the maximum ¥200,000 per person sought by the plaintiffs.
The ruling did not accept claims by some of the plaintiffs, including those in western Fukushima Prefecture, he added when explaining the reason for the appeal.
The Fukushima District Court ruling was the second of its kind in a series of group lawsuits filed nationwide in which the government and Tepco were found liable and ordered to pay damages over the nuclear crisis.
The court concluded that the government and Tepco failed to take steps to mitigate the tsunami risk, even though they were able to foresee the possibility of such a disaster based on a quake assessment issued in 2002.

Radioactive Contamination of Oceans: Sellafield, La Hague, Fukushima

Frankly speaking, I find it amazing that the people and the media talk so much about Fukushima Daiichi having leaked contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean since March 2011, and about Tepco possible future release of the tritiated water accumulated on site into the Pacific Ocean.

Whereas nobody ever talks about how much contaminated water the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing site on England’s west coast has been releasing into the Irish Sea (then from there flowing into the Atlantic Ocean), and how much contaminated water the La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing site on France west coast has been releasing into the English Channel (then from there flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

If you think that Fukushima Daiichi is contaminating the Pacific Ocean since 2011, why are aren’t you aware that Sellafield and La Hague have been contaminating the Atlantic Ocean for decades already?

Both sites having large pipes underwater going far from the land into the sea, both releasing their contaminated water at sea now for decades, with the gracious authorization of the IAEA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Hague_site

It might be because few people actually know about it, or because it is easier to point the finger to somebody else far away than at home. Of course it also serves the political and economic interests of both England and France to make their people mindful of what’s happening over there in Fukushima while keeping them blind about what’s happening in their own backyards, their media editors knowing very well what issues are to be avoided as too sensitive to be handled.

Of course I am not saying that the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean by Fukushima Daiichi should not be published, not looked into, not adressed.

What I am saying is that the radioactive contamination of the Atlantic by Sellafield and La Hague in parallel should be also published, looked into, as much adressed, not swept under the carpet, and the people well informed about it, especially as this has been going on for decades authorized by the IAEA.

 

A few related articles about Sellafield :

There is more radioactive plutonium in the sediments off the Sellafield plant in the Irish Sea than at the underwater Russian Novaya Zemlya nuclear weapons test site, according to Greenpeace.

The environmental group yesterday released further data arising from its ongoing survey of the Irish Sea. It has been measuring radioactive contamination in sediments and seaweed along British and Irish coasts for several weeks. Last week it visited Dundalk bay, retrieving seaweed as part of this activity. The data released yesterday related to the plutonium and caesium content of sediment taken adjacent to a Sellafield waste-discharge pipe two kilometres off the Cumbrian coast.”

June 1988 : Irish Sea radioactivity `worse than at nuclear site’ https://www.irishtimes.com/news/irish-sea-radioactivity-worse-than-at-nuclear-site-1.161463

 

A record number of radioactive hotspots have been found contaminating public beaches near the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, according to a report by the site’s operator.

As many as 383 radioactive particles and stones were detected and removed from seven beaches in 2010-11, bringing the total retrieved since 2006 to 1,233. Although Sellafield insists that the health risks for beach users are “very low”, there are concerns that some potentially dangerous particles may remain undetected and that contamination keeps being found.”

July 2012 : Record number of radioactive particles found on beaches near Sellafield https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/04/radioactive-particles-beaches-sellafield

 

Greenpeace has warned that the dumping of the reprocessing plant’s liquid waste has made the Irish Sea among the most contaminated waters in the world, even though Ireland itself produces no nuclear energy. Irish fishermen have been angered by catches of unsaleable mutated fish and by findings that they have been exposed to low-level radiation.”

Jan 2014 : Irish free to sue British nuclear operators over contamination http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/irish-free-to-sue-british-nuclear-operators-over-contamination-9039178.html

 

Radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria is contaminating shellfish hundreds of kilometres away on the west coast of Scotland, according to a new scientific study.

Scottish researchers discovered traces of radioactive carbon discharged from Sellafield in the shells of mussels, cockles and winkles as far north as Port Appin in Argyll, 160 miles from the notorious nuclear plant.”

December 2015 : Scottish shellfish are contaminated by radioactive waste from Sellafield http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14157272.Scottish_shellfish_are_contaminated_by_radioactive_waste_from_Sellafield/

 

A few related articles about La Hague :

According to the ACRO, in general, “there is more tritium in the Channel than in the Pacific waters near the Fukushima power station”. (They certainly should know as they regualarly monitor and analyze the contamination near La Hague, and they have repeatedly traveled to Fukushima to cooperate with the Iwaki Mother’s Radiation Lab to measure contamination there). http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2013/03/28/concentration-anormale-en-tritium-relevee-dans-la-mer-a-proximite-de-la-hague_3149613_3244.html#UGUVieKghcxVdjVv.99

The tritium rejected at La Hague is 1,000 times higher than what is allowed at the nearby Flamanville nuclear plant.” https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/lsd-la-serie-documentaire/lombre-des-centrales-nucleaires-44-des-poubelles-radioactives

 

Conclusion from my friend Pierre Fetet (Fukushima’s blog) :

There are several differences between La Hague and Fukushima (for Sellafield, I do not know enough):

At La Hague, for example, there is an authorization to reject 50,000 billion Bq of Tritium per day.

While in Fukushima, it is not known at all how much is continuously discharged into the sea in terms of radioactivity, except that it is 300 tons per day of contaminated water and that is not authorized by anyone.

The big difference is that in France that crime is allowed but confidential and that in Fukushima that crime is suffered and mediatized.

But you’re right Hervé, people are not aware and remain uninformed of what is really going on.”

 

For information: Releases by La Hague

20637872_10214212853938087_5602193404803544621_nAnnual Radionuclide Releases Report in terabecquerel (1 terabecquerel = 1 000 000 000 000 becquerels )

 

Special credits to Pierre Fetet and Javale Gola