A former Fukushima nuclear power station worker who contracted leukaemia as a result of the nuclear disaster may be able to sue TEPCO for getting cancer as a direct result of the accident.
The worker, aged 41, was given the green-light to claim damages on October 20th , with authorities confirming that the relationship between the work they did and their subsequent cancer diagnoses following radiation exposure were somehow linked.
Though the Ministry of Welfare states that recognition as an occupational accident does not scientifically prove a causal relationship between radiation exposure and its effects on health, the news flew worldwide reporting that the Japanese government had recognized the first case of cancer related to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
The Welfare Ministry revealed that the worker employed at plural power stations in Fukushima for a period of a year and 6 months from November 2011 and December 2013, of which for a year and 1 month from October 2011 to December 2013 in the #1 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant fixing the cover on the reactor building.
The total cumulative radiation dose was 19.8 mSv, of which 15.7 mSv at the #1 Power Plant.
According to the Ministry of Welfare, the effects of low doses below 100 mSv on cancer are small enough to be concealed by other elements. It is internationally recognized, it says, that any obvious increment of risks on health is difficult to substantiate.
On the premise that the relevance of radiation exposure below 100 mSv to cancer is difficult to prove, the ministry proposes to clarify accreditation criteria of occupational accidents and, if agreeable to the criteria, the investigative commission is consulted to approve the case as an occupational accident unless causes other than work are unraveled.
As thus far noted, the Welfare Ministry is highly cautious in wording its statements but the international media were quick to report the news extensively.
Quoting Greenpeace’s comment on last September that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had denied noticeable effects of radiation exposure on health, CNN reported the news would be damaging to IAEA.
ABC plainly reported without reference to occupational accidents that the Japanese government had confirmed the first case of cancer related to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, adding:
“Experts point out that the present case will lead to lawsuits in huge sums”.