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Liability for Nuclear Damages Under Japanese Law: Key Legal Problems Arising from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident

  • Julius WeitzdörferEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter gives a critical overview of highly topical legal problems inherent to the largest liability case in Japanese history. Starting with a survey of the relevant legal provisions, it draws upon precedents, Japanese scholarship, as well as the guidelines prepared by a dispute resolution panel established by the Government. Amongst other issues, the chapter elaborates who is liable by law and who is actually carrying the enormous financial burden, and also investigates causes of action beyond nuclear liability law, such as state liability. Furthermore, it discusses which damages are covered at all, such as loss of profits due to rumours of nuclear radiation. The Government has had to resolve pressing issues of legal uncertainty, including whether the earthquake could lead to an exclusion of liability, how claims of more than 1.5 million plaintiffs could be handled in a swift and just manner, and how financial resources are to be found once the funds of the nuclear operator have been exhausted. In short, an extra-judicial procedure has been created, involving government-regulated compensation payments. With respect to substantive law, legal solutions have been determined by politics to a considerable extent. This entails notable, if not alarming, problems with regards to the rule of law in Japan.

Keywords

Civil Code Nuclear Accident Alternative Dispute Resolution Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Fukushima Prefecture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Private LawHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Centre for European Legal StudiesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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