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11 years after Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan’s Supreme Court rules government does not need compensation

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11 years after Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan’s top court rules government needs no compensation

11 years after Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan’s top court rules government needs no compensation

The impact of nuclear leakage is difficult to eliminate, and the new move is questioned again

“The actual scale of the tsunami was larger than expected. Even if the government orders TEPCO to take necessary measures, it may be difficult to avoid the accident to a large extent.” On June 17, the Supreme Court of Japan made a unified judgment on four class actions accordingly. , found that the Japanese government was not liable for the Fukushima nuclear accident.

It has been 11 years since the “3.11 earthquake” in Japan, but the remaining issues such as the handling of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant reactor and massive nuclear-contaminated water are still affecting and attracting international attention.


The four class actions decided by the Supreme Court of Japan on the 17th came from Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba and Ehime prefectures. The total number of plaintiffs is about 3,700, and they are seeking compensation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the Japanese government for damages caused by the leakage of the nuclear power plant.

In the end, the Supreme Court of Japan rejected the plaintiffs’ claims for state compensation, holding that the Japanese government should not be liable for the evacuation of residents in Fukushima Prefecture and surrounding areas for many years.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on whether the government should bear state responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear accident. According to this, the Japanese media said that this is bound to be used as a precedent to affect similar lawsuits in the future.

After the verdict came out, the plaintiff representatives shouted outside the court, expressing their dissatisfaction with the verdict.

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 occurred in the waters off northeastern Japan and triggered a huge tsunami. Affected by the earthquake and tsunami, a large amount of radioactive material leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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On July 5, 2012, the Japanese National Assembly issued an investigation report, characterizing the cause of the leakage of radioactive substances from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as a “man-made disaster”.

According to Japanese media reports, before the earthquake, TEPCO had repeatedly had bad records in the safe operation of nuclear power plants, including concealment, false reporting and tampering with information and other “criminals”, but the Japanese government has repeatedly “tolerated” this. In this regard, the media pointed out that the government’s crisis response was chaotic and disorderly, and it was human factors that led to the worsening of the crisis.

Since 2013, about 30 similar lawsuits have been initiated across Japan, with more than 12,000 plaintiffs.

In previous rulings, some local courts have ruled that both the Japanese government and TEPCO need compensation, and some local courts have rejected claims against the Japanese government.

In the above-mentioned four class actions, the Supreme Court of Japan in a ruling in March this year held that Tepco should bear all the compensation liabilities alone, with a total compensation of 1.4 billion yen (about 10.5 million US dollars).


For 11 years, the impact of the Fukushima nuclear power leak has continued.

On June 12, residents of parts of Gewei Village, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, can finally return to their homes after 11 years. This is the first time the Japanese government has allowed residents to return to the “difficult area for returning home” with the highest levels of nuclear radiation.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the government divided the surrounding area into “difficulty returning home”, “restricted living area” and “preparation area for lifting the evacuation order” according to the level of nuclear radiation. The highest level of nuclear radiation is the “difficult area for returning home”.

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Due to concerns about residual pollution and other factors, local media reported that in the area where the ban was lifted, only 4 households of 82 people from the original 30 households planned to return to their hometowns.

At present, in Fukushima Prefecture, there are still 7 areas and about 337 square kilometers of land that are listed as “difficult areas for returning home”.

The radioactive material leakage accident caused by the earthquake and tsunami 11 years ago reached the level 7 of the highest international nuclear incident level, which is comparable to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Soviet Union.

After the accident, about 470,000 residents of Fukushima and surrounding areas were forced to evacuate. Statistics released by the Japanese National Police Agency last year showed that the earthquake killed more than 15,000 people and left more than 2,500 people missing.

Currently, tens of thousands of people are still displaced and unable to return to their hometowns in Fukushima.

Statistics from The Japan Times show that 2,523 people are still missing. Meanwhile, deaths from disaster-related illnesses, or suicides due to stress, totalled 3,784. As of January this year, suicides linked to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan totaled 246.


The Fukushima nuclear accident has caused huge damage to local residents and the ecological environment in Japan, but what worries the international community more is how the Japanese government and TEPCO deal with the nuclear-contaminated water accumulated in the nuclear power plant.

On April 13, 2021, the Japanese government made a decision to approve TEPCO to filter and dilute nuclear sewage and discharge it to the offshore through submarine pipelines. The process is expected to last 20 to 30 years until the nuclear power plant is scrapped.

After this decision was promulgated, it not only aroused opposition from domestic fishing groups and some people, but also met with strong opposition and doubts from the international community and environmental protection groups.

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However, amid the doubts and objections, the Japanese government still insisted on going its own way, planning to start discharging the so-called standard nuclear sewage in the spring of 2023.

Many neighboring countries pointed out that the Japanese government did not consult with neighboring countries or provide any relevant information when making this decision, which is undoubtedly extremely irresponsible.

Earlier, South Korea’s foreign ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to South Korea and made a solemn protest. The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly stressed that Japan is required to work with relevant organizations and countries to find a proper way to dispose of nuclear sewage, and not to initiate the discharge of nuclear sewage into the sea without authorization.

In fact, in a resident health survey released by Japanese agencies in February this year, the incidence of thyroid cancer among adolescents in Fukushima Prefecture increased by 118 times, with 236 cases per 1 million people.

After the nuclear leak, among the 11 areas where Fukushima issued an evacuation order, after 11 years of reconstruction, the occupancy rate of residents was only 30.9%, the cultivated area of ​​farmland was 32.2%, and the restart rate of industry and commerce was only 30.9%.

Some commentators pointed out that the discharge of sewage from the Fukushima nuclear accident into the sea is a major issue related to the living environment and health of all human beings, and it is no longer just Japan’s internal affairs. It is neither acceptable nor credible to the countries in the region and the international community to attempt to “one-stop” without exhausting safe disposal methods.

Zhao XiaozhanReturn to Sohu, see more


Disclaimer: The opinions of this article only represent the author himself, Sohu is an information publishing platform, and Sohu only provides information storage space services.

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