Interview of Ruiko Muto about the foundation of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plantiffs

Ruiko Muto, the team Leader of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs
Ruiko Muto, the team Leader of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs

We began by holding a meeting in Iwaki on 16th March 2012 to form our group and then organised several briefing sessions in various locations. In every meeting, the participants described the terrible damage they had suffered from. Their accounts made us even more determined to make our grief and anger heard. Over 600 people wrote their statements for this legal action. These poignant statements tell of the pain and sorrow in losing their normal life, livelihood, home and ties with co-workers and the community, of their crushing fear of the effects of radiation on the health of their children and the hard reality of being separated from their families. I want those responsible for all this to read every one of these statements and to appreciate fully the indescribable agony we have had to go through.

 

TEPCO’s accident report submitted in June this year was full of excuses and buck-passing. Their report says that the earthquake and tsunami surpassed all previous predictions. However, it was revealed after the nuclear accident that many experts had warned against earthquakes and tsunamis on this scale, and TEPCO employees had discussed their possibility and consequences among themselves. The great tsunami we had was NOT unforeseen. Rather, the risk and the need for anti-tsunami measures were recognised, but, clearly, nothing had been done to prevent the foreseeable from happening.  


It goes without saying that the responsibility of the state for promoting nuclear energy as a national policy while disregarding safety is very serious. The state neglected its duty to control power companies, and overlooked and rubber-stamped their operation without adequate safety measures.


The nuclear catastrophe was a result of the accumulation of irresponsible practices on the part of the state and the power company.  Despite the gravity of their obligation, none of the official s and executives have been held accountable or have lost their positions.  Even worse, they have the power to order the restart of the Ooi Nuclear Power Plant. We have been exposed to unnecessarily high doses of radiation because the MEXT officials intentionally concealed SPEEDI data (government simulation data on concentration and spread of radiation) from us and relaxed the radiation safety standard following the accident, and the medical doctors who were appointed as the Radiation Risk and Health Management Advisors for Fukushima Prefecture have repeatedly understated the risk of radiation.  Their conduct in allowing increasingly large doses of radiation exposure must be condemned.


We decided to file a case because we must end such practices that totally lack any duty of care. Our aim is not only to press charges of criminal responsibility against them for what they did in the past, but also to challenge their current behaviour, which demonstrates a complete lack of remorse or culpability regarding these crimes.


The second lawsuit is due this November, and we are encouraging people from all over Japan to participate. It is after all not only Fukushima residents who became victims of this nuclear disaster. The contamination has spread throughout the country, and many people outside Fukushima, have been traumatised as well. I want all people who consider themselves victims to jointly press charges against those responsible. 9 offices have been set up in locations, including Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, in preparation for this nationwide legal action.


Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Life-destroying nuclear tragedies have proliferated in the world. Artificial nuclear materials are fundamentally incompatible with life. If we human beings keep using nuclear technology, we have to accept living on increasingly contaminated land. We must not leave any more burdens on our children. I regard this legal action as an atonement for our sins against the young and the unborn.

 

Extract of the article from the monthly magazine "World" August 2012

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