A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee (C) speaks to the media in front of a monitor in the refrigerator building at the company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. Photo: REUTERS file
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Gov't acknowledges first radiation death among Fukushima plant workers

24 Comments

The Japanese government has acknowledged for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami more than seven years ago, died from radiation exposure.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years earlier.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said that compensation should be paid to the family of the man in his 50s who died from lung cancer, an official told Reuters by phone.

The worker had spent his career working at nuclear plants around Japan and worked at the Fukushima Daiichi plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power at least twice after the March 2011 meltdowns at the station.

He was diagnosed with cancer in February 2016, the official said.

The ministry had previously ruled exposure to radiation caused the illnesses of four workers at Fukushima, the official said. This was the first death, he said.

More than 160,000 people were forced from their homes after the meltdowns at the plant.

Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the chaos of evacuations during the crisis and because of the hardship and mental trauma refugees have experienced since then, but the government had said that radiation was not a cause.

Tokyo Electric is facing a string of legal cases seeking compensation over the disaster.

© Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments
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Sad. For this to have happened so quickly and based on the type of cancer it would seem he inhaled Plutonium. That is some pretty scary stuff if that is the case!!

So sorry for this worker and his family.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The government is going to do all it can to fight any and all claims that people died due to any radiation from Fukushima.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

@Yubaru - that may be the case but it is quite plausible this guy is the first. Radiation (unless the dosage is extreme) takes time to kill (as it did for this poor guy).

I would imagine there will be more cases than just this one.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I guess we will start to get some more of those Fukushima food ad campaigns coming soon to counteract this bad news.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A very interesting ruling. The courts have ruled many times that utilities are not liable for these deaths by cancer, as it is not possible to verify the doses absorbed or the actual cause, going back to 1995, when the first cases were exposed by the photographer and nuclear activist Kenj Higuchi.

The nuclear workers do not help their own cause, by working at different plants under different names, exceeding the NRA mandated limits, or in other cases, working without radiation meters or proper documentation, under the 6-7 layers of employment agencies that comprise the Japan Nucelar Village. The plight of the 'nuclear gypsies' is well-documented, especially by Reuters.

Let's see if they appeal!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There has already been hundreds of deaths attributed to this manmade disaster. A handful of cancer deaths are just the top of the death-berg.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@Do the hustle - yes it was a man made disaster but do you have some evidence that hundreds have already died due to radiation?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Actually @ Do the hustle...perhaps you are referring to the end of the article...I think the cancer and radiation related deaths will start to appear more often now.

Definitely all of these people deserve compensation!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

More news like this one will be published in the years to come.

This is the first but definitely not the last.

TEPCO and the government, however, will always insist that "it's no problem and everything is under control". No, it's NOT!!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Admission of wrongdoing, meaning responsibiltiy, meaning compensation...not something they want to admit no doubt.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There has already been hundreds of deaths attributed to this manmade disaster. A handful of cancer deaths are just the top of the death-berg.

No doubt

More news like this one will be published in the years to come.

This is the first but definitely not the last.

TEPCO and the government, however, will always insist that "it's no problem and everything is under control". No, it's NOT!!

Klaus- Exactly!!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

... that may be the case but it is quite plausible this guy is the first.

It is also plausible that this is the first of many that has been recognized. It's obvious (and has been proven) that the government is not telling us everything and has outright lied on occasion.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I guess they buried it for as long as they could. Get ready for THOUSANDS more deaths like this as a direct result in the next few years, and let's not forget the kids they said there were no threats to in the areas around the plant, and refused to let them leave.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

It's a "nuclear disaster" as much as the government want to deny it, radiation monitors that were purposely miss adjusted, to allowing shoddy companies to hire trainees the story is global, mismanagement, out right denial. Now after 7 years the truth is seeping out. The LDP created this and now want to distance them selves from any responsibility. It's absolutely depraved. Sadly those who created this mess will die hording millions while millions of people will be left to deal with the residue of their theft and greed.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I thought nuclear workers wore dosimeters and were prevented from working once their annual dose exceeded a certain amount? Did this worker not wear his badge, or were the figures falsified, or did he get cancer despite receiving less than the allowed dose? Why is there no information on this?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

yes just one, right....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@scrote - some wear dosimeters, some are not supplied with them, some cover them with lead to enable them to keep working (they don't understand much about radiation and cancer), many use different names and go work at different plants once they get to their annual dose limit, others have data falsified, records are not properly kept. There are many accounts of this in books such as Kenji Higuchi's, articles on the nuclear gypsies, CINC website, etc..

Just search....there is a lot of information on this.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

They suddenly figured that out now? genius

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Tokyo-Engr - @Do the hustle - yes it was a man made disaster but do you have some evidence that hundreds have already died due to radiation?

No, I did not state there were hundreds of deaths from radiation. I stated hundreds of deaths have occurred due to the meltdowns. The majority of themselves deaths are suicides from the hardship of being relocated. Others were from the stress of the relocation. The few who have died from cancer pale in significance for the hundreds who have already died. That is my point.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Could it be that his cancer was not caused by radiation from the plant but something that naturally happens to people, ie if he was living in Kyoto, would he still have got cancer?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Poor reporting, as usual. The ministry ruling allows compensation to be made available, but does not ascribe the illness to radiation exposure - just that it may have had an effect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The nuclear workers do not help their own cause, by working at different plants under different names, exceeding the NRA mandated limits, or in other cases, working without radiation meters or proper documentation, under the 6-7 layers of employment agencies that comprise the Japan Nucelar Village. The plight of the 'nuclear gypsies' is well-documented, especially by Reuters.

We are not talking about "other" power plants, this is about Fukushima and workers after the disaster. It's not fair to even consider or compare these workers to the Fukushima one's!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Really hard to believe that news sources continue with the hackneyed phrase, "unfounded rumors" etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, can they finally charge the execs with murder then ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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