Sunday, January 27, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Accident: TEPCO to Limit the Right to Claim Compensation to 3 Years After All

It's not quite a 180-degree turn from the position taken by the TEPCO president only days before the change, but still an unpleasant and frustrating turn for people affected by the nuclear disaster.

On January 10, 2013, this is what Naomi Hirose, president of TEPCO, said to Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima Prefecture, according to Mainichi Shinbun (1/10/2013; part):


Naomi Hirose, President of TEPCO definitely said on January 10 for the first time that TEPCO had "no intention of claiming its right to legal statute of limitations (3 years)" regarding the compensation to damages arising from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.


President Hirose and Chairman Kazuhiko Shimokobe visited with Governor Yuhei Sato at the Fukushima Prefectural government office on January 10. Mr. Hirose made specific remarks for the first time regarding the issue, saying "We have no intention at all (to claim our right to statute of limitations). It is a legal problem, but we would like to come up with something concrete." Governor Sato demanded that TEPCO fully compensate the victims.


According to the Article 724 of the Civil Code, one loses the right to compensation unless one files a claim for damages within 3 years of first becoming aware of the damages from offense by others. The purpose of this article is to quickly establish relations of right. Governor Sato had asked TEPCO not to assert its claim to statute of limitations.


After the meeting, Mr. Hirose said to the press, "We're discussing the measures, and I hope to announce them soon. We are not going to assert our claim to statute of limitations in lawsuits."

There are many who haven't even received the applications yet. For those who have received the applications, the application is such a legal mumbo jumbo that many have simply given up.

Then on January 16, six days later, TEPCO revealed their plan. Instead of statute of limitations as stipulated by the Civil Code, the company will use a modified statute of limitations - 3 years from the time when the application forms are received by people affected by the accident.

As Nikkei Shinbun reported (1/16/2013; part):


TEPCO and Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund has decided that the period to claim damages from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident will be three years from the date when people affected by the accident receive their application documents. It has been pointed out that the three-year statute of limitations from the start of the accident may happen, but the new plan will move the date further back from which to count three years so that people affected by the accident are able to receive compensations.


The plan is part of the change request for the "Comprehensive Special Business Plan" that TEPCO submitted to Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, on January 15.

So it's a done deal. The plan is submitted, not because the plan will be analyzed or discussed by the government but as the last formality after everything in the plan has been already informally discussed and agreed upon by all the parties involved, in this case the national government and TEPCO (which are one and the same).

Very clever of them. The management of Chisso should have used the same ruse.

TEPCO's Hirose by the way holds an MBA from Yale University. Minister Motegi is a former McKinsey consultant. They probably understand each other very well.


Anonymous said...

elite Japanese energy insider oiler^M returns w/ thoughts on #fukushimA

Anonymous said...

TEPGOV can move the date forward until hell freezes over it isn't going to make them look compassionate to their victims. But the history books won't remember the victims all that will be remember is TEPGOV went that extra mile to be sure everyone had a chance to have their claim low balled or outright rejected.

Factbox: Compensation for Fukushima crisis victims:

Blood Money - Fukushima Victims Bitter Over Compensation:

Anonymous said...

Guess they have to go after the builders of the nuclear plant...hope GE is listening...cause it will happen..lawyers are already busy I am sure..and TEPCO and the Japanese government will happily throw them under the bus....

Anonymous said...

great post admin.. posted to

added a chart of the increase in child cancers starting more than 5 years after chernobyl.. diag from informable.. you cant have a statute of limitations on ionising and toxicological damaged people.. its just crazy! thanks for youe post.. i used the japanese also as we have a growing japanese viewing base.. hope it attracts more to your great site..
sean arclight

Anonymous said...

One of the problems some victims are running into is the documentation TEPCO requires has been lost in the natural disaster portion of the overall disaster. These people will probably be forced into accepting a basic generic settlement that in no way reflects their actual losses.

Scott Bryson said...

If it is anything like US law there is usually a provision that limitation begin to run after one discovers an injury, so for people outside the evacuation areas, while there might not be obvious evidence besides low level exposure if illness later results it might be possible to file a claim then.

Hélios said...

Hi Ultraman,

Please, tell me. In this sentence :
"Minister Mogi is a former McKinsey consultant", I guess you mean "Motegi" ?
I am lost with japanese names.
Thank you.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Sorry, Helios, "Motegi". The characters can be read either way but in his case the name is Motegi.

TechDud said...

What is disturbing is realizing the move by many to limit rights of Class Action.
Sometimes it seems that Lady Justice is now barely clothed, and indeed a refugee, so-to-speak.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, Japan signed an agreement with US by virtue of which people who suffered damage from a npp in Japan cannot sue a US manufacturer in (and the other way around).

Such agreement was cleverly signed by the Japanese government *after* Fukushima.

So forget suing GE.


Anonymous said...

That's right, the radiation LIVES ON for thousands of years, or in the case of cesium a mere 300 years, but three years is enough for these bastardos.

Japan’s Wrong Political Course: Public Docility Versus Nuclear Magnates

Majia's Blog said...

Regarding 3 year limitations:

Data from Chernobyl suggest that thyroid cancer typically developed after four years of exposure.

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