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

New court case involving TEPCO

December 4, 2012


40 residents near Fukushima nuke plant seek 1.94 billion yen from TEPCO



IWAKI, Fukushima -- Forty local residents from 18 households near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant filed a class action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) on Dec. 3, demanding the utility pay damages worth about 1.94 billion yen.

The plaintiffs from Minamisoma, Futaba, Naraha and Hirono that fall within 30 kilometers from the disaster-hit nuclear power station filed the class action suit with the Iwaki branch of the Fukushima District Court.

Tokuo Hayakawa, 73, who heads the group of plaintiffs, said at a news conference, "We won't be able to put our lives back in order with the amount of compensation decided by TEPCO, the victimizer. If things remain as they are, we (evacuees) will become abandoned citizens."

Hayakawa currently lives in a housing unit rented by the Fukushima Prefectural Government. Before the nuclear disaster, he was the chief priest at a Buddhist temple in Naraha, while running a group home and an employment facility for the intellectually-handicapped. Following the outbreak of the crisis at the nuclear plant on March 11, 2011, most of the town was designated as a no-entry evacuation zone, forcing him to evacuate and lose his quiet life.

The 97 handicapped people, who had lived in Hayakawa's group home before the nuclear disaster, evacuated to places all over the country, and some of them died while evacuating. "I want to convey our appeal through the lawsuit for the sake of our friends who cannot raise their angry voice at TEPCO and for the sake of the evacuees who were compelled to silently accept the situation."

According to the group of lawyers, never before had evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster filed such a large-scale class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs demand TEPCO pay 20 million yen each in damages for mental suffering stemming from the loss of their hometown, including their local community, among other claims.

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