Six Fukushima victims file suit over thyroid cancers

Hiroyuki Kawai

The Japan Times is reporting that “six people are set to sue Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco) over thyroid cancer that they claim they developed due to exposure to radioactive substances released from the 2011 triple reactor meltdown at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.” 

They are represented by campaigning lawyers Kenichi Ido and Hiroyuki Kawai (pictured), who praised the courage it took for the defendants to come forward, given the scale of the Japanese government’s dismissal and denial that thyroid cancers were caused by the nuclear disaster.

“There is strong social pressure to believe that cancer is not caused by the accident, so it took a lot of courage for the six plaintiffs to file the lawsuit,” Kawai told the Times.

The plaintiffs, from Fukushima Prefecture, were all children, ranging from six to 16 years of age, at the time of the nuclear disaster. They are seeking more than $5 million (¥616) in compensation. 

As the Japan Times reported: “Four of them have had their entire thyroid glands removed, the lawyers said. Some have undergone multiple rounds of surgery because of cancer metastasis or recurrence.”

Thyroid cancers among those exposed to Fukushima radiation as children have increased 20 times the expected rate, with about 80% metastasizing – meaning surgery was medically indicated and screening necessary. 

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