Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Theories of Tort Law

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Eri OSAKA , Toyo University, Japan
The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster brought widespread and long-term damage, which forced traditional theories of tort law face with many difficult challenges. According to the case law, a wrongdoer should compensate any damage claimed by his/her victim, if the victim can proof that the wrongdoer’s act was a legally sufficient cause of such damage. However, certain types of damage from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster are not fit into the traditional theories of damage. For instance, how to calculate non-pecuniary loss suffered by an evacuee followed by the governmental instruction? As of August 2013, 81,300 residents (28,800 households) were still restricted their access to their home in varying degree. Among them, 24,800 residents (9,200 households) have their houses in the areas where the annual integral dose of radiation is expected to be 20mSv or more within five years and the current integral dose of radiation per year is 50mSv or more. How to calculate their fear during the evacuation? How to calculate their concern over the risk of radiation injury? How to calculate their uncomfortable life in their temporary housing? How to calculate their loss of hometown? In addition, statute of limitations put another hurdle for the victims. Moreover, the government liability is called into question. Some victims have filed lawsuits against the TEPCO and the government, even though the Dispute Settlement Center for Nuclear Disaster Compensation was established to assisting the victims. Thus, in my presentation, I will discuss the recent developments of tort law after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.