Wednesday, October 08, 2014

          Legal Impact of the Fukushima Disaster Symposium

          Waseda Law School in Tokyo took the lead in organizing compensation for victims.
          Sample alt tag.
          Front row from the left: Hiroshi Fukurai (UCSC), Yoshitaka Wada (Waseda Law School), Setsuo Miyazawa, Nancy Stuart, Richard Marcus, Morris Ratner. Back row from the left: David Makman (Makman & Matz), Kenji Fukuda (Waseda), Keith Hand, Eric Feldman (U Penn Law School), John Kakinuki (Kakinuki Law Office), Takao Suami (Waseda).

          When the earthquake hit off the coast of Japan in March 2011, and the resulting tsunami disabled the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant and spread radiation, the residents of the town of Namie were forced to relocate en masse.

          There were many pursuant legal issues that had to be addressed: what was the liability of the Japanese government, General Electric (which built the plant), and the Tokyo Electric & Power Company, which operated the plant? How could local governments provide assistance to evacuated residents?

          The dearth of lawyers in rural Japan made it almost impossible for victims to pursue justice. Tokyo’s highly regarded Waseda Law School stepped in to help, offering legal assistance to the town of Namie and initiating a project to seek compensation for displaced residents in the special mediation program in the absence of class action, which is not permitted in Japan.

          In this conference at UC Hastings that was held on September, 19, 2014, Professor Ratner and several Waseda-affiliated scholars spoke about these topics. The proceedings will be published in an upcoming issue of the Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal.

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