A municipal government on an island in northern Japan has filed a lawsuit against the state and a utility company seeking to stop the construction of a nuclear power plant. The Hakodate Municipal Government placed a formal suit against the Japanese government and the Electric Power Development Co., or J-Power for building the power plant in Oma, Aomori Prefecture.
Filed with the Tokyo District Court by Mayor Toshiki Kudo, the lawsuit is the first ever lodged by a local government against a nuclear plant and sets a precedent on whether a court will grant a municipality not hosting a power plant, though it falls within a 30 kilometer radius, the right to disapprove a construction plan. Construction of the power plant began in May 2008 after J-Power received approval from the government. However, it was temporarily suspended when in 2011, the meltdown at the Fukushima power plant caused one of the world’s biggest nuclear leaks. Construction work resumed on the plant in spite of the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) issuing an order “not to build new nuclear power plants” on the premise that work has already began prior the release of the new order.
However, the municipal government of Hakodate disputes the construction authorization as invalid due to the flawed regulation standards used considering the disaster in the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant. It called for the Nuclear Regulation Authority to suspend the construction work on the premise that no safety judgment using new regulation standards has been made for the plant. Adding that since its location falls within a radius of 30 kilometers, the municipality is required to come up with nuclear disaster prevention plans which is something they haven’t done yet. They urged that work be stopped until the Hakodate Municipal Government agrees to the drawn construction plan.