News Watch

‘311 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Suit’ Filed

Six people stricken with thyroid cancer as a result of exposure to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident filed suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) in Tokyo District Court on January 27, seeking 616 million yen in damages. All six had been between the ages of 6 and 16 at the time of the accident. Two had had half of their thyroids removed through surgery due to thyroid cancer, and the other four had experienced recurrences of cancer and in repeated operations had had their thyroids entirely removed. One of the latter had undergone surgery four times, with metastasis to the lung seen.

One of the plaintiffs, who attended a press conference, had had half of her thyroid removed. After that surgery, she became prone to catching colds and experienced such terrible fatigue that it forced her to quit her job. Afraid of discriminatory treatment, she had no one she could talk to about her experience for 10 years, but thinking of the 300 other children in similar circumstances, she decided to speak up. Some of the plaintiffs have never found an employer that would hire them.

They have been forced to live difficult lives in constant fear of their cancer metastasizing. In addition, they will need to continue taking thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives.

The legal team representing the plaintiffs consists of 16 lawyers headed by Ido Ken’ichi (please see the detailed article by Ido here) and including lawyers Kawai Hiroyuki and Kaido Yuichi, who are also a CNIC board member and auditor, respectively. Their stated goals are to discredit the over-diagnosis theory maintained by the government, clarify the causal relationship with exposure, and create a system within which people who suffered health damage from the Fukushima nuclear accident can live without anxiety.



Supreme Court Rejects TEPCO’s Final Appeal in 6 Lawsuits by Fukushima Evacuees

Japan’s Supreme Court rejected TEPCO’s appeals on March 2nd in three class action lawsuits filed by people forced to evacuate due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station who are seeking damages from the Japanese government and TEPCO, and on March 7th TEPCO’s appeals were also rejected in three other similar class action lawsuits seeking damages from TEPCO alone, finalizing for the first time decisions to order payment of compensation above the national standard. Arguments will be heard by the Supreme Court in April regarding culpability shared by the government in each of the three cases seeking damages. Based upon that, a unified decision is expected to be presented. The respective share of responsibility by the government and TEPCO for paying the compensation will be determined in that decision.

At least 30 class action suits have been filed nationwide in Japan by evacuees, and after the Supreme Court hands down its decision on these six cases, lower courts will pass their judgments along the same lines. At the same time, reconsideration of Japan’s compensation standards is necessary.


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