Japan court rejects demand to evacuate children while acknowledging radiation risks on health
On April 24th, 2013, the Sendai High Court 2nd Civil Affairs ruled to reject an appeal of 14 children at elementary schools and junior-high schools in Koriyama city, Fukushima Prefecture. They filed a lawsuit (internationally known as the Fukushima Collective Evacuation Trial ふくしま集団疎開裁判. The trial is against the city to injunct compulsory education activities in radiation-contaminated environment over 1mSv per year. The lawsuit argued the city of Koriyama had legal responsibility to evacuate children at elementary schools and junior-high schools, which are part of compulsory education under Japanese law.
The court acknowledged radiation in the city exceeded levels deemed safe prior to the disaster. But it said the government shoulders no responsibility for evacuating the schools as demanded — in effect, telling people to leave on their own if they were worried.
Toshio Yanagihara, one of the lawyers, said the ruling was unfair as the children were « victims with absolutely no responsibility for the nuclear accident. »
If you put it in one word, the judgement was baffling ! In the first half of the statement, the judges basically said « There is a considerable amount of concerns about the health condition of the children of Koriyama city ». They clearly noted that there is an increasing risk to their health due to radiation exposure. Then in the last half of their statement, the tone of the arguments changed suddenly. At last, they’ve concluded that the « plaintiffs » have no right to evacuate and that Koriyama has no obligation to support their evacuation, which is not consistent with the first half of their statement at all. – Toshio Yanagihara
The case had drawn international attention because it touched the uncertainties about the effects of continuous low-dose radiation on health, especially that of children, who are far more vulnerable than adults.
A lower court threw out the original case in December 2011, but that ruling was appealed. The latest ruling can also be appealed.
THE FIGHT IS ON AND WE NEED PEOPLE’S VOICES MORE THAN EVER.
THE ONLY VIABLE OPTION IS EVACUATION
HELP SAVE THE CHILDREN OF FUKUSHIMA
Koriyama is a city of 330,000 people located about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Though the distance separating her from Daiichi, Koriyama remains one of the most contaminated town in the prefecture.
A short film by Tetsuo Sugeno about Koriyama City which is 60km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. If they were to apply the evacuation standard used in Chernobyl, most of the central part of the city would fall under the mandatory evacuation area.
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Live from Lalaland 26/04/2013