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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Ex-worker sues TEPCO over cancers

 September 2, 2015

Former laborer sues TEPCO, blaming radioactive debris for his cancer




SAPPORO--A 57-year-old man is suing Tokyo Electric Power Co. and a contractor on grounds he developed multiple cancers from radiation exposure while performing cleanup work around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The lawsuit filed in the Sapporo District Court on Sept. 1 is seeking 65 million yen ($541,666) in damages.

According to the man's lawyers, it is the nation’s first lawsuit to assert a correlation between the onset of cancer and radiation exposure stemming from work to contain the nuclear crisis that unfolded at the plant in March 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The lawsuit also names construction company Taisei Corp., which was contracted by the utility to help with the cleanup in which the plaintiff was involved, as well as other parties.

The man was involved in removing debris near the plant for about four months from July 2011, according to court documents.

In addition to directing heavy machinery via remote control, he operated heavy equipment and removed debris by hand at a site with high radiation readings.

He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in June 2012, stomach cancer in March 2013 and colon cancer in May of that year.

Records show that the man was exposed to 56.41 millisieverts of radiation during the four months he worked around the plant.

But the plaintiff argued that the total must have exceeded 100 millisieverts because he occasionally worked without a dosimeter to ensure that his radiation readings remained below the legal limit.

A dose of 100 millisieverts over a year is considered enough to raise the risk of cancer.

“We will respond to this suit in a sincere manner after we get more details about his claim,” a TEPCO representative said.

Taisei Corp. said it will consider a response after receiving the court documents.


Former worker at Fukushima plant sues for damages after suffering cancer



SAPPORO -- A former worker who removed debris at the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and later developed cancer filed a suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for damages at the Sapporo District Court on Sept. 1.

According to the 57-year-old's representatives, the lawsuit is the first one in the country to make accusations about the connection between working at the damaged nuclear plant and developing cancer.

The man worked at the plant from early July 2011, some four months after the disaster, until the end of October that year, doing work including the removal of debris using heavy machinery, according to the lawsuit papers and other sources.

The man says that he had been told that the work would be done by remote controlling the heavy machinery from inside a lead-covered control room, but he says that he also had to go outside and remove debris by hand in cases when machinery was unusable.

Officially, the man had 56.41 millisieverts of radiation exposure during the four months, already in excess of the legally-defined 50 millisievert yearly limit for nuclear plant workers during normal plant operations. He says that he was not wearing a dosimeter, however, and his real exposure was probably higher.

In June 2012 the man developed bladder cancer, in March 2013 he developed stomach cancer, and in May 2013 he developed colon cancer. The cancers occurred separately, not by spreading from each other.

The man is seeking around 54.72 million yen from TEPCO under the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage, as well as a combined 10 million yen from his employers during the plant work, Yamazaki Construction Co. and Taisei Corp.

TEPCO has commented, "We have not received the lawsuit papers yet, so we do not know the details, but we will respond sincerely."

In August 2013 the man applied with the Tomioka Labor Standards Inspection Office for workplace accident compensation, but in January this year he was denied. He says he is now applying with the Fukushima Labor Bureau.

In a press conference after the lawsuit was filed, lawyer Toru Takasaki, who is representing the man, said, "There are people who will have to work for decades doing dangerous duties to decommission the plant. We want to make it clear where responsibility lies and open a path to help the victims (of workplace accidents at the plant.)"


September 1, 2015

Ex-Fukushima No. 1 worker sues Tepco over cancer




SAPPORO – A former worker at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has filed a damages suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. and others, claiming that he developed cancer due to exposure to radiation after the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

His lawyers said Tuesday the suit, filed in the Sapporo District Court, is the first litigation on causal relations between cancer and work to deal with the crisis.

The 57-year-old man is seeking a total of ¥65 million in damages from Tepco, contractor Taisei Corp. and its subcontractor.

According to his complaint, cancer was detected in his bladder in June 2012, in his stomach in March 2013 and in his sigmoid colon in May 2013 after he worked as a heavy equipment operator at Fukushima No. 1 between July and October 2011.

In August 2013, the man filed for workers accident compensation with the Tomioka Labor Standard Inspection Office in Fukushima Prefecture.

After the application was rejected in January this year, he requested that the Fukushima Prefectural Labor Bureau review the decision.

Records show that the man received a total of 56.41 millisieverts during his work at the power plant, but he claims to have been subjected to more than 100 millisieverts and says he sometimes worked without a dosimeter.

The government uses the 100-millisievert threshold to consider whether cancer has a causal link with radioactive exposure.

Tepco said it will respond sincerely after examining the lawsuit.


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