Taiwanese environmental activists and a legislator yesterday supported a call by Japanese environmental groups to join an international lawsuit against the builders of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant for compensation for mental anguish as a means to stop nuclear power plant construction.
Representatives of Taiwanese groups including the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Gongliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association, and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) yesterday accompanied the Japanese representatives at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan.
The Japanese representatives — Daisuke Sato of the No Nukes Asia Forum, Seungkoo Choi (崔勝久) of No-Nukes Asian Action and Akihiro Shima (島昭宏), their lawyer, attended discussions with the Taiwanese groups in the past few days, and invited them to file the international lawsuit together against companies including GE, Hitachi and Toshiba.
TEPU founding chairperson and veteran anti-nuclear activist Shih Hsin-min (施信民) said the lawyers’ group believes people have “no-nukes rights” that allow them to “avoid living in the fear of nuclear disasters.”
“It’s a weird situation that only the operating company — Tokyo Electric Power Co — has to shoulder the responsibility for dealing with damage caused by the disaster, while the builders of the plants do not,” Shima said, adding that it is unfair that the builders do not have to pay compensation.
Urging all clients to demand ￥1 million (US$9,574) from the manufacturing companies as compensation for mental anguish, the lawyers’ group said the main point of asking for compensation is to make the companies bear responsibility for what they build.
As the builders of the plants are exempted from responsibility, they may focus only on economic benefits, rather than nuclear safety, Shih said, adding that regulations in Taiwan also only require the operating company and government to take the blame in the event of a nuclear disaster.