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6 thyroid cancer patients sue TEPCO over Fukushima radiation

50 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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The court is a joke in Japan. Similar to the PRC, the jgov will no doubt force the court to rule in favour of TEPCO, just as they did against the farmer who sued the gov for contaminated topsoil on his land.

14 ( +29 / -15 )

Yet, according to TEPCO and the J-Gov no illnesses have been linked to the Fukushima meltdowns. Their defense will be that these people would have developed thyroid cancer regardless of the meltdown. Remember Minamata?

22 ( +34 / -12 )

Cancer at such a young age, they absolutely deserve cash if it’s because of Fukushima.

30 ( +31 / -1 )

Good for them, this will show if the legal process in Japan is corrupt or not.

23 ( +27 / -4 )

Prefectural officials and experts have said the high detection rate in Fukushima is due to overdiagnosis in many cases, 

Shameful, sweeping cancer under the carpet to sell your fukushima grown products.

18 ( +26 / -8 )

In a news conference after filing their case at the Tokyo District Court, one of the plaintiffs and the mother of another said they hoped the court would establish a correlation between the cancer and radiation from the plant. An expert panel commissioned by the Fukushima prefectural government has so far ruled it out.

The expert panel:Teens and 20 somethings getting thyroid cancers is completely normal and natural.

If the government was doing its job TEPCO should have been nationalized and its assets used to repair all the damages wrought and reorganized so such avoidable accidents never happen again.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

I've heard the argument that it's a part of "Japanese culture" to not give all the facts in a disaster such as this one. A difference we from other countries couldn't understand. Does this argument work against those tragically affected by J corp putting profits over people?

Also

She complained of prejudice against thyroid cancer patients.

Seriously? There's so much wrong with what's described in this article. Not just with corporate Japan.

Even if they win, it'll be little consolation. I hope they do, but it's hard to be optimistic knowing how the system works.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

The Japanese government had 230,000 KI (potassium iodine) doses available at evacuation centers and throughout the region. Some in pill form for older children and others mixed in a syrup for children up to 3 years old.

Some parents (I believe is was

2 ( +4 / -2 )

In a trial seeking criminal responsibility of former TEPCO executives, the Tokyo District Court in 2019 found three top officials not guilty, saying they could not have foreseen the disaster. The case has been appealed to a high court.

Disgusting

11 ( +18 / -7 )

what happened? Oh, you can’t use a less than symbol…

… less than 4%)

Some parents did not allow their children to take it due to misinformation or ungrounded fears.

A clinical study in 2017 showed that there were no thyroid cancer cases among the children taking the KI.

What is not known is if these people took the KI. It is still a very low number of cases, thanks to the dispensing of the KI.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Should take the Japanese Government to court as well.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

TokyoJoe 07:12 am JST

Good for them, this will show if the legal process in Japan is corrupt or not.

We don't need to see the outcome of this lawsuit to know the answer to that.

Best of luck to these unfortunate people but considering the appalling histories of Minamata, the Morinaga Arsenic poisoning and the truly vile Green Cross HIV blood scandal they're in for a long, hard struggle.

13 ( +21 / -8 )

The court is a joke in Japan. Similar to the PRC, the jgov will no doubt force the court to rule in favour of TEPCO, just as they did against the farmer who sued the gov for contaminated topsoil on his land.

So true.

We don't need to see the outcome of this lawsuit to know the answer to that.

Best of luck to these unfortunate people but considering the appalling histories of Minamata, the Morinaga Arsenic poisoning and the truly vile Green Cross HIV blood scandal they're in for a long, hard struggle.

excellent point!

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Shameful, sweeping cancer under the carpet to sell your fukushima grown products.

Experts that have supported this explanation include people with zero interest in selling anything from Fukushima. This is a well known problem with directed testing of populations and an expected result even before examinations began. For example screening mammograms are not indicated for all adult women, even if they reduce very importantly deaths by breast cancer, because lots of women will end up with something being detected, undergo treatment (including surgery) only for it to result benign.

Testing more is not always better, in this particular case the risk of not detecting possible cases was more important than the risk of over detecting them, so a blanket screening is justified, but ther is no point in not recognizing that an excess of cases will be found just because doctors are looking for them in people even without any symptoms.

Still, I really hope the patients win the lawsuit (even if not likely at all), the problem derived from bad decisions from TEPCO that affected a lot of people, so this should be part of the consequences of it, even if it can be argued that the patients had approximately the same risk of cancer even without the radiation.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

TEPCO (AKA The Japanese govt) will never accept liability. Ever. I wish all those affected well. 13 neutron beams were observed at Dai Ichi after the disaster, massive amounts of radiation released, iodine 131 was in Tokyo's water... the list goes on of what is forgotten, pushed away, covered and ignored.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

The occurrence rate of 77 per 100,000 people is significantly higher than the usual 1-2 per million, their lawyers say

Nuclear power plants explode and fuel reacts and breaches containment then the likelihood of radioactive contamination and cancer rates is NOT unusual?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Their defense will be that these people would have developed thyroid cancer regardless of the meltdown. Remember Minamata?"

Precisely. History shows us whats likely to happen here.

TEPCO, in a statement Thursday, apologized for still causing trouble and concerns to the people in Fukushima and elsewhere. It said the company will "respond sincerely" after closely examining the court documents."

If you were really " sincere" you,d admit liability, shut up and pay up. Since it will be taxpayer money in use anyway ( both any potential payout &TEPCO lawyers fees since the company is essentially nationalized and kept afloat by our tax money ) Im sure most J-taxpayers would be happier to spend it on compensation for these cancer patients than on years of fat lawyer fees.

Good for them, this will show if the legal process in Japan is corrupt or not.

We don't need to see the outcome of this lawsuit to know the answer to that."

Agreed.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This is just the beginning, remember Chernobyl and the thousands of similar cases.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Remember TEPCO, so the government, actually stated any nuclear isotopes from the explosions were "not their's once they'd left the facility" !! "Not our fault. Not our responsibility", is their mantra. Disgusting.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

TEPCO needs to be gone like yesterday.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Take them to the cleaners! Though sadly I don't like their chances!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

they only demand 616 million yen? Tepco should be luck this isn't the US. Pay them their dues without going to court to redeem your trust!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, several thousand cases of thyroid cancer linked to radiation exposure were reported, mostly in children and adolescents. Ido said it's unthinkable there are no such cases in Fukushima.

Does Jiminto even want to know or care?

Cancer patients in Fukushima "live in uncertainty, and cannot even think about marriage or having children," Ido said. Those speaking up are criticized for hampering the area's recovery efforts, he said.

This is the same government that wants to release the contaminated water from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean!

Where are Kozumi and Kan? Europe, these two need their priorities to be straight. Kozumi and Kan need to be in Fukushima, Aomori, and Tokyo, with other politicians who are for zero Nuclear demonstrating in their own country protesting with all efforts to stop this mistake from ever occurring.

Another lawyer, Yuichi Kaido, said the lawsuit is not only for the six plaintiffs but for hundreds of others with health problems stemming from radiation effects. He said he hoped to establish a medical support system for them.

Nuclear accidents have occurred world wide many times before, radiation poising is nothing new and when this accident occurred it should not even have been a question of if it will occur because it will. A medical support system should have been already in place in the aftermath of this disaster in April of 2011 this money should have been allocated to just this situation for years now. Where were Kan and Kozumi then, not developing a system of support to help the families of future sufferers of the after affects of radiation posing that will occur after this event.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

what shocks me the most is actually this comment: "I couldn't tell anyone about my cancer because I was afraid of being discriminated against”.

Says a lot.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

In Japan, your marriage and career prospects plummet if you admit to having any serious medical condition. Even just having the potential to have a serious condition is enough sometimes to render you untouchable. Many people from Hiroshima and Nagasaki found this out after the war.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Don't expect anything.

Multiple cases of cancer occuring in nuclear workers in the Kansai region were not compensated for, with utlities claiming that they were not well-documented, or that they were contract employees and thus not their responsibiity, or they were just stamped not related to radiation. There were people who had radiation-exposure dosimeters on the job, and records of exposure on file, unlike local residents.

Read the works of Kunie Horie, photographer Kenji Higuchi, and more recently Paul Jobin, on the treatment of workers in the nuclear power industry, from the early 1970s through to post-Fukushima.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Tepco lied to the nation. Sue the hell out of them.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

But how can this be? Everything was/is safe and under control.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

few weeks ago TEPCO was ready to release contaminated water to ocean and some their boss have said that its completely "harmless" but yes since than no word about that in media...maybe some ban to inform us?

feel sorry abt people who are suffering as cancer is very bad and may be final stop for many...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

My first thought as I read the headline:

”Only 6?!”

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If you look at the Minamata poisoning scandal and their fight, this doesn't look hopeful.

The occurrence rate of 77 per 100,000 people is significantly higher than the usual 1-2 per million, their lawyers say.

This is the kicker. I hope to god they win and win big. The national govt. should be on trial too. They've done and admitted so little.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The occurrence rate of 77 per 100,000 people is significantly higher than the usual 1-2 per million, their lawyers say.

Even the lawyers aren't trying too hard. Significantly higher is not strong enough to describe 770 per million vs 2 per million

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Even if we accept there's over detection then the logical next step is to find out to what degree, not decide that 768 occurences out of 770 were just over detection

1 ( +3 / -2 )

AndyToday  08:52 am JST

This is just the beginning, remember Chernobyl and the thousands of similar cases

They would have been discovered by now.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thousands of people including a friend of mine are diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year. Im not a doctor but I can see the problem of proving that the cancer was caused by the disaster and not "natural".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

this is the same japan that wasnts to release radioactive water into the ocean. they can't be trusted

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan's authorities has efforted to make radioactivity issue look smaller than actuality since 2011.

Most Japanese mainstream news show ignored this sue.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is a standard J-gov line, which is currently playing out with Covid testing: do not seek and you shall not find. It really would be psychopathic to put appearances above accurate data allowing sick people to be treated, but that did happen with Hiroshima, Minamata, through HIV in the 90's, Fukushima, and now with Covid.

Playing Devil's advocate here though, it is difficult to compare Fukushima thyroid cancer rates with the rest of Japan, because there had not been extensive screening nationwide before the Fukushima programme, so they lacked data to compare with. But, but, that begs the question of why they didn't set up a mass national screening programme from 2011, to the present, in order to track and compare rates close to and far from the plant?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Poor people. That is why they say to eat rich iodine products when you are in radioactive area. If I remember correctly, radioactive elements are accumulated in thyroid, and iodine prevents this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The occurrence rate of 77 per 100,000 people is significantly higher than the usual 1-2 per million,

Does anyone know where the 1-2 per million figure comes from? I've also read of rates in Japan of about 8 per 100,000 (link below).

https://www.env.go.jp/en/chemi/rhm/basic-info/1st/03-07-19.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thousands of people including a friend of mine are diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year. Im not a doctor but I can see the problem of proving that the cancer was caused by the disaster and not "natural"."

I'll take a guess that your friend is not aged between 17 to 27 years ( 7 to 17 at the time of the meltdown)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Does anyone know where the 1-2 per million figure comes from?

Answering my own question... I'm guessing this is the rate for a comparable age range. I found some data for Osaka that showed an incidence of about 1-2 per million for 0-19 year olds.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And the J-government and the prefecture wants us to eat food products produced and harvested in the prefecture and around the coast of this prefecture.

I have been taking iodine once week ever since. I can't afford to consume that equal amount in fish and seaweed each week.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All the 'dislikes' here is further evidence that more than a few Japanese still trust and support TEPCO. What a travesty.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If I remember correctly, radioactive elements are accumulated in thyroid, and iodine prevents this.

Yes iodine is absorbed and retained inthe thyroid. Taking in large amounts of iodine beforehand will prevent intake of radioactive iodine which is one of the elements the nuclear material in the reactor split into

2 ( +2 / -0 )

as_the_crow_fliesToday  03:55 pm JST

Playing Devil's advocate here though, it is difficult to compare Fukushima thyroid cancer rates with the rest of Japan, because there had not been extensive screening nationwide before the Fukushima programme, so they lacked data to compare with. But, but, that begs the question of why they didn't set up a mass national screening programme from 2011, to the present, in order to track and compare rates close to and far from the plant?

The environment ministry ran screenings in Nagasaki, Yamanashi, and Aomori in 2012-13. Their rates were higher than Fukushima.

A complete national screening programme would just have resulted in tens of thousands of kids getting their thyroids cut out “just in case”, as modern ultrasound scanners pick up any and all anomalies - even those that are little threat, or even no threat to the kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this is the same japan that wasnts to release radioactive water into the ocean

The contamination level in the "radioactive water" is heavily below drinking water regulations. It would probably be legal to dump in California where otherwise everything causes cancer.

Also, comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima makes absolutely no sense on very many levels

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The environment ministry ran screenings in Nagasaki, Yamanashi, and Aomori in 2012-13. Their rates were higher than Fukushima.

A complete national screening programme would just have resulted in tens of thousands of kids getting their thyroids cut out “just in case”, as modern ultrasound scanners pick up any and all anomalies - even those that are little threat, or even no threat to the kids.

I'm assuming this rationalization is along official lines as it seems everyone who's knowledgeable about the issue says something similar.

This establishes that the screening procedure and/or equipment used is not appropriate to say the least.

Why didn't the govt formulate a new procedure and conducted a new study?

Why continue to use a test or equipment that will result in a positive result in all cases?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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