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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Ruling about school bullying

March 22, 2017

Kids bullied at new schools due to nuclear crisis get day in court




MAEBASHI--A landmark court ruling in a group lawsuit against the state and Tokyo Electric Power Co. found that five plaintiffs were psychologically abused as children after they transferred to new schools because of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The acknowledgement came in a voluminous March 17 ruling by the Maebashi District Court here that held the government and TEPCO, operator of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, accountable for the March 2011 disaster and ordered them to pay compensation to nearly half of the 137 plaintiffs.

The ruling was the first in a series of group lawsuits over the nuclear accident.

Asahi Shimbun reporters combing through the ruling analyzed cases made by 51 plaintiffs who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear disaster occurred.

The court ordered TEPCO and the government to pay compensation to two of the five plaintiffs for bullying and harassment they received as children while living as evacuees.

In the decision, the judge accepted statements by the five youngsters, both male and female, that they suffered psychological distress due to bullying and harassment at their elementary or junior high schools.

However, it dismissed claims by three of the five plaintiffs that they are entitled to more compensation than the amount TEPCO has already paid to them.

According to the decision, a girl, whose family voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Gunma Prefecture, was treated meanly by her classmates when she was in elementary school.

In one instance, she was asked to go to a festival by a classmate, but later told she was not welcome.

“No one from the class will go with you. That is what we decided on.”

On another occasion, she found that someone had placed a spiteful note in her bag that read: “Gross. Don’t come near us. You make us throw up.”

One boy was accused by classmates of “running away” when he returned to Fukushima Prefecture from Gunma Prefecture. Another boy was nicknamed “Fukushima-kun” at the new school he attended after he evacuated.

(This article was written by Jun Miura and Eishi Kado.)


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