Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Ten years after the Fukushima nuclear accident, residents of the Minamisoma region lost their lawsuit against the Japanese state, which set radioactivity standards at 20 millisieverts per year as a limit for returning to live there.
The group of plaintiffs demanded that the standards of acceptability of radioactivity should not exceed 1 millisievert per year to avoid any danger of serious contamination for the inhabitants.
Lawyers unfolded the judgment in front of journalists and the public, who expressed their disappointment at the judgment in a case that has taken more than six years to complete.
The evacuees and the inhabitants of Minamisoma filed the lawsuit with the help of ‘Friends of the Earth’ to denounce their forced return to a “radioactive environment” and to highlight the difficulties they faced after the withdrawal of government aid.
Minamisoma is located 20 km from the Fukushima power station and was administratively divided into several zones after 2011 to allow the gradual return of the inhabitants from 2014. They were encouraged by financial incentives but the state has eliminated aid for the evacuees in 2019. Only a partial decontamination of the topsoil layer was carried out.
Jun Nakamura, a representative of an Environmental Radiations Monitoring project, testified on the measurements collected by the inhabitants of Minamisoma between the years 2018 and 2021. Radiation has been collecting in the air, in the water, in the soil and in the urine of the inhabitants, it was reported.
According to Nakamura, precipitation and water flowing from the mountains displace the levels of radioactivity and can contaminate the soils.
After the trial Yuchi Kanno, one of the plaintiffs, told a press conference that the radiation rates have not changed in 10 years and he deplored the court decision and the attitude of the judges, who, he said, did not understand the seriousness of the problem. He also pointed out that children had developed thyroid cancer.
The citizens of Minamisoma, facing economic difficulties due to the withdrawal of government aid, had little choice but to return to their land and try to live with the radioactive contamination.