Some 1,400 people filed a joint lawsuit on Jan. 30 against three companies that manufactured Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, saying they should be financially liable for damage caused by its 2011 meltdowns.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that the lawsuit, filed at Tokyo District Court, is a landmark challenge of current regulations that give manufacturers immunity from liability in nuclear accidents. Under the Japanese nuclear damages compensation scheme, only the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, has been held responsible for the accident, triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami.
The 1,415 plaintiffs, which include 38 Fukushima residents and 357 others from around the world, said that manufacturers — Toshiba, GE and Hitachi — failed to make needed safety improvements to the four-decade-old reactors at the Fukushima plant. They are seeking compensation of 100 yen (US$1) each, saying the idea is to raise awareness of the problem.
Akihiro Shima, a lawyer for the group, said that the nuclear plant manufacturers so far had not been held responsible, “and their names are not even mentioned.” The lawsuit is intended to bring attention to the problems of the system that protects the nuclear industry around the world, he said.
1. liable for adj. phr.
負有…責任的 (fu4 you3 … ze2 ren2 de5)
例: You are liable for this debt.
2. give…immunity from v. phr.
免除；豁免 (mian3 chu2; huo4 mian3)
例: The government gives some specific types of charitable organizations immunity from taxation.
3. raise awareness v. phr.
(huan4 qi3 jing3 jue2; ti2 gao1 yi4 shi4)
例: The documentary film intends to raise awareness about climate change.