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HOME > Public Statements and Opinion Papers > Statements > Statement Regarding Compensation for Damage Caused by the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No.1 and No.2 Nuclear Power Plant Accidents for those Evacuated from Outside Evacuation Areas

Statement Regarding Compensation for Damage Caused by the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No.1 and No.2 Nuclear Power Plant Accidents for those Evacuated from Outside Evacuation Areas

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At the 14th meeting held on September 21, 2011, the Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation (the “Committee”) examined two cases relating to the compensation of damages such as evacuation costs and mental anguish for those who evacuated from outside places designated as evacuation areas and specific areas recommended for evacuation by the government and others (so-called voluntary evacuees) as follows:

 

1) as a period when evacuees had insufficient information on the status of the Accident at the time of the accident, evacuation up to April 11 when then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano made a remark on the designation of deliberate evacuation areas and evacuation-prepared areas in case of emergency or up to April 22 when along with lifting of the advisory to shelter indoors, deliberate evacuation areas and evacuation-prepared areas in case of emergency were designated; and

 

2) evacuation after a certain period of time passed since the Accident.

 

Although, in the first place, the matter concerning compensation for damages for those who evacuated from outside evacuation and other designated areas should have been included in the “Interim Guidelines on Determination of the Scope of Nuclear Damage resulting from the Accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima No.1 and No.2 Nuclear Power Plants” which were drawn up on August 5, the commencement of examination of this matter in detail is a positive step.

 

However, the Committee’s policy of the examination has the fundamental problem with the assumption itself that evacuation is basically unnecessary except in areas where the government determines that the annual exposure dose exceeds 20mSv.

 

(1) Despite requests for comprehensive monitoring repeatedly made by many private organizations as well as by the JFBA, the government designated evacuation and other areas without conducting this, thus lacking sufficient scientific basis for the assumption itself that evacuation is basically unnecessary except in the evacuation and other designated areas.

 

Even at present, no prospect for restoration has been found in the accident which occurred at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Station of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (the “Accident”) on March 11 which continues to release radioactive materials into the outside atmosphere for a prolonged period of time, expanding the contamination. Still, it cannot be denied that the Accident may develop into a more serious one. In addition, the situation of the contamination may constantly change due to effects such as wind direction and rain. Not only in Fukushima Prefecture, but also in Miyagi Prefecture and various parts of the Kanto region, the radiation levels have continued to exceed the dose rate equivalent to the radiation limit for members of the public of 1mSv per year recommended by the ICRP. Under such a situation, it is not irrational at all to take actions, including evacuation, considering the suspected threat of radioactive exposure which may cause health damage in areas other than the evacuation and other areas designated in April.

 

(2) As the JFBA has repeatedly pointed out, basically, the effect of radiation on the human body has yet to be sufficiently elucidated in science. Moreover, it cannot be denied that even low doses of exposure may increase a risk of diseases such as cancers. In light of higher sensitivity of children to radiation than that of adults, it is reasonable enough that children, their parents, and pregnant women feel apprehensive of the exposure of even below 20mSv per year.

 

The laws and regulations of Japan also strictly limit activities in controlled areas: designation of an area with radiation doses of over 1.3mSv per quarter (5.2mSv per year and approximately 0.6μSv per hour) as a controlled area and the prohibition of entrance of persons other than those with business into the controlled area pursuant to Articles 3.1.1 and 3.4 of the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Dangers; the obligation to wear a radiation measuring instrument in principle and the control system by regularly measuring the dose equivalent due to external exposure and the dose due to internal exposure pursuant to Article 8 of the said Ordinance; and prohibition of a person under 18 years of age to work in a controlled area pursuant to the Regulations on Labor Standards for Minors.

 

The JFBA thus requests the three points below concerning compensation for damages for those who have voluntarily evacuated and for those who have not evacuated with health concerns.

 

First of all, the scope of compensation for nuclear damage should include evacuation expenses and damages for mental anguish at least for residents who evacuated from an area with radiation dose of over 1.3mSv per quarter (5.2mSv per year and approximately 0.6μSv per hour).

 

Second, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced on May 27 the policy of “aiming to bring the annual exposure level down to 1mSv or below at school facilities for the time being”. The scope of compensation for nuclear damage should include evacuation expenses and damages for mental anguish for those, at least children, their parents, and pregnant women, who evacuated from an area with annual radiation dose of over 1mSv, the radiation limit for members of the public recommended by the ICRP which has been used to date as the limit of radioactive exposure for the general public.

 

Third, the scope of compensation for nuclear damage should include damages for mental anguish for those who have continued to stay in evacuation and other designated areas as their lives must now be led with many disadvantages under the social chaos associated with the Accident, and because they are forced to live with anxiety about their health in the future in a place with possible contamination of radioactive materials.

 

September 30, 2011
Kenji Utsunomiya
President
Japan Federation of Bar Associations