Almost five years have passed since the nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima at the Dai-chi, Japan, and while our Denver workers’ compensation lawyers and Greeley workers’ compensation attorneys were not involved in fighting for the workers who were injured during the disaster, the nuclear plant meltdown continues to affect the rest of the world in unexpected ways. Because of Fukushima’s location on the island of Japan, water near the plant and along the coast is extraordinarily radioactive. Like much of Japan, Fukushima had a respectable agricultural economy before the disaster. People used to trust their government in Japan, particularly where nuclear safety is concerned. Since the Dai-chi factory melt down, almost all of that has changed.
Nuclear power was, ironically, a popular form of what the Japanese considered clean energy for decades. Schools would stress how proud the Japanese people could be of their nuclear power programs, how the power source yielded relatively little waste and encouraged an educated populace.
Coal power, by contrast, yields much more waste and accidents related to coal power are a huge concern for Denver workers’ compensation lawyers. Coal power seems like an inherently risky business. Cave-ins and bad lungs are so much a hallmark of coal mining and coal power that they almost go without saying. Nuclear power, by contrast, was touted as “energy for a brighter future,” according to a bridge in Futuba, Japan. Common sentiment followed this idea until the plant meltdown and subsequent evacuation crisis.
Almost 50 people died of dehydration alone while being evacuated from nursing homes in Fukushima after the disaster. Most of the hospitals built to accommodate potential injured victims of the power plant were too close to the radiation zone and those who sought to escape the harmful radiation spewing from the factory. By March of 2013, almost 3,000 people died in shelters for victims of the disaster. Early on during the first few months of the disaster, people fleeing Fukushima were dying at almost three times the normal rate for Japanese people.
After believing for so long that nuclear power was the way forward for Japan as this was the official government stance, people were understandably shaken. In addition to the simple fact of the disaster, governmental agencies seemed ill-equipped to immediately deal with the—pardon the expression—fallout of such an accident. Because many governmental agencies were not communicating properly, a good number of evacuees were evacuated right into the path of the radiation. In a 2016 annual ranking of counties by the Edelman marketing firm, Japanese citizens ranked first as the most distrustful of government, business, media, and nongovernmental organizations. Radiation risks in the water around Fukushima are still high. Many people, including Americans, distrust the food grown in Fukushima province. Every bag of rice from the area is inspected for excess radiation.
173 workers at the nuclear factory were exposed to high levels of radiation linked to cancer. In October of 2011, the first plant worker was diagnosed with radiation-related leukemia. The Japanese health ministry approved workers’ compensation for the man according to the Japanese news source NHK but there naturally aren’t as many details as if it had been an American workers’ compensation case.
Colorado workers’ compensation is far different from international and Japanese workers’ compensation, partially due to the government setup in Japan versus America and the state-to-state variance in workers’ compensation systems. However, necessity of trust is international. Workers have to trust that the systems set up for their protection will work and are relatively easy to navigate. Unfortunately, there are many cases where miscommunication or error keeps people from the benefits to which they are entitled.
In many cases, workers are left without recourse and with mounting medical bills from accidents that occur in the workplace. While Japanese law is somewhat murkier than American workers’ compensation systems—which are themselves by no means easily navigable waters—there are caring, compassionate experts who make justice for workers their priority and lifelong passion.
Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact us here or call us at(866) 356-9898 for your free consultation.