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Evacuees, residents to sue for ¥1 in neglected aid

Kyodo

Fukushima residents and evacuees plan to sue the government for ¥1 each over its failure to enforce a law to support those affected by the nuclear crisis sparked by the March 2011 natural disasters, their lawyer said Tuesday.

Twelve evacuees who voluntarily left the prefecture and seven Fukushima residents claim it is illegal for the state not to set basic guidelines for providing them with support, lawyer Kenji Fukuda said.

They will seek damages of ¥1 each in the suit to be filed Thursday with the Tokyo District Court, he said.

The plaintiffs also are demanding confirmation that they are eligible for government aid under the law, which was enacted in June last year, including medical care, housing support, job offers and children’s education.

Fukuda said it is “abnormal” that the government has not established guidelines more than a year after the law was enacted. “In the meantime, the psychological and financial burdens on evacuees have been increasing,” he said.

The lawyer said the plaintiffs seek only ¥1 in damages each “to emphasize that they represent those in need, and do not seek personal gain.”

The law stipulates that residents in, or evacuees from, places where a “certain amount of radiation” from the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been recorded are entitled to government support. However, the government has yet to decide on the amount of radiation that warrants eligibility for aid.

The Reconstruction Agency, which is responsible for compiling the basic guidelines under the law, said it aims to work out the policy “as soon as possible,” but declined comment on the planned lawsuit.