Around 800 people from Fukushima and its neighbouring areas are filing a class action lawsuit against the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This is in connection with the nuclear meltdown of 2011 sparked by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The suit was filed on the second anniversary of the disasters.
The lawsuit’s main aim is to get the government and TEPCO to hasten efforts to clean up the contaminated region. In the case filed before the Fukushima District Court, plaintiffs are demanding $520 a month each from the two defendants until they are able to fully restore the area and have reduced radiation levels same as before the accident. They are also demanding compensation for the psychological pain caused by the incident that forced tens of thousands of residents of areas near the plant to abandon their homes and jobs. Two years later, they are still nowhere near to returning home and there are fears it will take decades before they can do so.
A statement from the plaintiffs through their lawyers said that they are holding TEPCO responsible for the accident and the government as well for failing to provide “sufficient safety measures” and for taking a pro-nuclear power stance in its national policies. Another aim of the lawsuit is to force the government to abandon its pro-nuclear policy to prevent more incidents like this in the future.
While there are no official deaths attributed to the plant meltdown, a parliamentary report last year concluded that the Fukushima accident was a result of Japan’s culture of “reflexive obedience” which put it in the category of a man-made disaster. There is still an ongoing investigation on whether TEPCO executives can be held criminally liable for downplaying the tsunami risks due to the possible political, financial and reputation costs involved.
[ via Global Post ]