« 世界市場混乱 日米欧は危機の収束を急げ | トップページ | 避難準備区域―解除で復興に加速を »

2011年8月13日 (土)

社説:原発事故の賠償 救済の体制作りが必要

(Mainichi Japan) August 12, 2011
Legally supported compensation setup needed to provide relief for nuke crisis victims
社説:原発事故の賠償 救済の体制作りが必要

Aug. 11 marked the five-month anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, but the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has yet to be brought under control.

With a nuclear compensation panel within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) establishing its midterm guidelines, however, an overall picture of the scope of compensation for damages caused by the crisis have finally begun to emerge.

The panel had heretofore expressed its intent to include costs incurred by residents forced to evacuate under government instruction, emotional pain caused by these evacuations, as well as damages and radioactive contamination fears caused by shipping bans imposed on agricultural and fisheries products as eligible for compensation.

In its midterm guidelines, the panel expanded the scope of compensation eligibility to include the manufacturing and service industries.

The tourism industries in Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma prefectures are now eligible, in addition to Fukushima Prefecture's.

Furthermore, the panel approved the coverage of costs incurred across the nation from cancellations made by foreign tourists through the month of May.

The 17 prefectures where radiation-tainted rice straw was distributed -- leading to radiation-tainted beef -- will also be eligible for compensation.

Private companies that sustained direct damage and other parties that were indirectly affected, such as the clients of farmers, fishermen and forestry operators, have also been included for compensation coverage.

Based on the serious effects of the crisis, the effort made to expand the scope of compensation if a causal relationship exists, should be recognized.

The panel also indicated that evacuations by residents living outside the government-mandated evacuation zones could be eligible for compensation if the evacuations are deemed appropriate under current social norms.

While in-depth deliberation of the latter has been deferred, the inclusion of such non-government-mandated evacuations under the scope of compensation payments would be a reasonable measure, considering the scale of radioactive contamination.

A claim for damages based on the midterm guidelines will be submitted in September to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the stricken nuclear power plant.

While some 400,000 to 500,000 individuals and companies were initially expected to be eligible for damages, the number is now predicted to be far higher, which increases the likelihood of negotiations that are both protracted and continuous.

First and foremost, TEPCO, which will expand the number of its staff dedicated to compensation issues to several thousand, should carefully listen to the voices of the crisis' victims.

As was noted in the midterm guidelines, it is important that TEPCO maintain enough flexibility to compensate parties on a case-by-case basis if cause and effect is shown to exist, even if such parties are not specified in the guidelines as being eligible for compensation.

Direct negotiations are ideal in promptly providing reparations to the victims.

Still, the panel's midterm guidelines come with more than a few abstract stipulations and standards that could result in multiple interpretations.

For this reason, committees will be set up under the panel's umbrella to mediate in case direct negotiations between involved parties break down.

Members of this committee will largely be comprised of lawyers based in Tokyo and Fukushima; bar associations have experience in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), aimed at resolving civil disputes without litigation.

If disputes remain unresolved, parties will ultimately go to court, but this will take time and money.

There are high hopes for a setup in which all parties reach a satisfactory settlement with both speed and fairness, and we hope that the legal community provides all the support it can provide.

毎日新聞 2011年8月12日 2時31分


« 世界市場混乱 日米欧は危機の収束を急げ | トップページ | 避難準備区域―解除で復興に加速を »





« 世界市場混乱 日米欧は危機の収束を急げ | トップページ | 避難準備区域―解除で復興に加速を »