Six young men will sue Japan’s troubled Fukushima nuclear plant on Thursday, saying they developed thyroid cancer due to their exposure to radiation from the facility’s spill.
The plaintiffs, aged between 17 and 27, were living in the Fukushima region when a powerful earthquake on March 11, 2011 triggered a tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster.
They will file their lawsuit on Thursday afternoon against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the plant, to demand compensation of 616 million yen (5.4 million dollars), the group’s lawyer, Kenichi, told AFP. Gone.
An expert panel formed by the regional government found no causal link between radiation exposure from the disaster and thyroid cancer, which could be a focal point in the case.
A UN report published last year concluded that the Fukushima nuclear disaster had not directly harmed the health of local people a decade after the fact.
The rise in thyroid cancer cases among children exposed to radiation could be due to better diagnoses, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has concluded.
But lawyers for the young men say that none of the cancer cases among the group is hereditary and that it is very likely that the disease was caused by their exposure to radiation.
“Some plaintiffs are finding it difficult to advance to higher education and find jobs, and have even given up on their dreams for the future,” Ido said.
The plaintiffs were between the ages of six and 16 at the time of the nuclear spill and were diagnosed with thyroid cancer between 2012 and 2018.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant accident was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, after which large numbers of thyroid cancer cases were detected.
The disaster in northeastern Japan left some 18,500 dead or missing, most of them because of the tsunami.
As of June 2021, 266 cases, or suspects, of childhood thyroid cancer have been detected, a local authority said.
“When the lawsuit comes, we will address it sincerely after carefully reading the details,” TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Yamato told AFP.