Survivors of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami who were forced to evacuate following the multiple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant are taking legal action against the power company operating the plant and the Japanese government, for damages caused by the disaster.
TOKYO (majirox news) — At least 350 Fukushima residents have brought a lawsuit claiming damages against the operator of the failed nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), and Japanese government agencies they claim are responsible. The case will be heard next month on the second anniversary of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents, which followed the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The case has attracted public support from other Fukushima residents, demonstrating in Tokyo on Feb. 23.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs has said this is the largest suit ever filed against government agencies.
“My clients are seeking 535 dollars each for each month that they have been forced out of their homes and businesses,” said Izutaro Managi, the lawyer for the plaintiffs. “However, this suit is not primarily about money. Official agencies have showed negligence and need to be held accountable.”
The residents are claiming that officials were aware of the damage that a tsunami would cause, and failed to take sufficient measures against a possible nuclear meltdown.
“Since the government cannot reduce radiation levels to the way they were before the disaster, we hold them liable for the damage caused,” Managi said. “The wrong decisions were made by officials and agencies every step of the way throughout Japan’s nuclear program and following the nuclear accident.”
Many Fukushima residents claim the area around the plant is still suffering from problems triggered by the nuclear disaster.
According to lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai and speaker at the rally, “The people of Fukushima are angry because they lost their hometowns, their work and their schools. They have not been compensated and the people responsible have not been arrested.”
Demonstrator Miyako Fujita, said, “I am from Tokyo but I came here to show my support for the lawsuit and the people of Fukushima.”
Fukushima’s agricultural business is suffering. Many crops are unable to be grown, or even if they are grown, they cannot shipped because of the fear of radioactive contamination.
Observers say that this lawsuit may be the first of many to be brought in the future, as anger grows over delays in reconstruction.