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Reactor Suppliers Lawsui
Rationale Behind The Reactor Suppliers Lawsuit
1. Measures Safeguarding the Nuclear Power Regime around the World
Under circumstances of the occurrence of a nuclear accident, entities subjected to liability of damage are assumed to consist of the Government, manufacturer(s) of the reactor(s) in operation and the utility company in charge of the said power station. However, referring to Part II (Liability of Nuclear Damage), Section 3 of Japan’s Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage, it states:
“Where nuclear damage is caused as a result of reactor operation etc. during such operation, the nuclear operator who is engaged in the reactor operation etc. on this occasion shall be liable for the damage, except in the case where the damage is caused by a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character or by an insurrection.”
Also quoting the following opening paragraph of Section 4:
“Where nuclear damage is covered by the proceeding article, no one other than the nuclear operator that is liable for nuclear damage pursuant to the proceeding article shall be liable for the damage.”
In context, the nuclear operator represents a power company. Such legal channeling [act of legally making one entity responsible, and thereby dismissing other parties from liability for an event.] stipulated in the Act is“to contribute to the sound development of the nuclear industry”, as stated in Part I (General Provisions), Section 1.
This clearly shows the implication that the legal system itself is advocating nuclear energy. As the statute excludes and eludes the makers of nuclear technology of any accountability, expansion of the nuclear industry continues worldwide, particularly in the Asian regions.
Furthermore, people suffering from nuclear damage can only claim compensation from the power company, which is in this case, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). If the damages exceed a predetermined amount of money, the Japanese Government will aid such a power company (see Part IV, Section 16). Reimbursements will be paid from funds via electricity charges and taxation. In other words, money by the public is to be channeled to nuclear damage compensations.
This allows nuclear suppliers (manufacturers) to simply concentrate on its economic activities and gains while being completely excused from any responsibilities concerning their products. Henceforth, we can conclude that the nuclear power regime was created, intending to make only a power company liable.
With all things considered, the system of legal channeling prescribed in the Act brings about an extremely irrational situation in which the supplier has no role whatsoever, nor subjected to criticisms, at home or abroad.
2. Filing the Lawsuit against Nuclear Suppliers on the Basis of Legal Theory
When filing the lawsuit, plaintiffs made up of people from all over the world will claim 100 yen (equivalent to US$1) per person, for compensation of mental anguish, on the premise that the legal channeling system is unconstitutional. The main issue of the lawsuit does not reside in the amount of compensation, but the outcome of addressing the exemption of manufacturers from legal responsibility.
In court, the plaintiff attorneys will argue that the infringement of “No Nukes Rights”: “rights to live free from fear of nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation”. These rights are derived from Article 29 of the Japanese Constitution as well as the “right to pursuit of happiness” guaranteed by Article 13 and the “right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living” by Article 25.
Besides the arguments based upon unconstitutionality, the plaintiff attorneys will also argue the rights of recourse prescribed in the opening paragraph of Section 5 of the Act:
“Where nuclear damage is covered by Section 3 and if the damage is caused by the wilful act of a third party, the nuclear operator who has compensated the damage pursuant to Section 3 shall retain a right of recourse against such third party.”
Referring to the above, willful neglect of a third party represents the mental state of a third party, acknowledging the probability of a nuclear accident occurring, while disregarding the likelihood despite the defects with the Mark I containment that has been pointed out in the 1970s. Then, who can be certain that those reactor suppliers, who built up those containments, were ignorant of possibilities of a future accident involving such faults already pointed out?
Finally, to send out a strong message in hopes of a fair trial with conscience in court, we are calling out to people from all over the world to join us and become plaintiffs of this Lawsuit.
Our message is echoed loudly with every plaintiff gathered! We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you very much.
All the quotations regarding the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage are quoted from documents made available for online viewing by the Nuclear Energy Agency at the following link: https://www.oecd-nea.org/law/legislation/japan-docs/Japan-Nuclear-Damage-Compensation-Act.pdf