Arab News Japan
TOKYO: The first hearing of a court case brought by residents of an irradiated village affected by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima 10 years ago took place in the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday.
After having exhausted the remedies of a conciliation procedure with the state and power plant operator TEPCO, which ultimately refused to compensate the villagers, the former residents of Iitate filed a civil action against the company and the Japanese state.
Iitate was recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in the world before the nuclear disaster, which saw a radioactive cloud pass over the village and which exposed all the inhabitants to very high levels of radiation. The inhabitants were evacuated more than a month after the nuclear disaster.
Hiroshi Kanno, 73, solemnly presented his grievances against TEPCO and the state. He explained that nearly 80 percent of the land was not yet decontaminated and that the nuclear accident had destroyed the community life to which all the villagers were rooted. He presented photos to the court of the life of a stockbreeder and rice farmer before the disaster; and the landscapes which have been modified by the presence of black vinyl bags containing radioactive earth.
He asked the judge to recognize the suffering of the villagers, to take into account the reality of exposure to radioactivity. “Since we know the dangers of tobacco, why do we refuse to recognize the dangers of internal contamination and exposure to radioactivity,” he said.
Kanno noted that former Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s spokesman Yukio Edano said during the disaster that “exposure to radioactivity presented no immediate danger.”
Kanno asked the judge to make the judicial procedure fast because after 10 years of attempts at conciliation, the plaintiffs were growing old.