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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fukushima Residents Grab ¥500-Million Payout Over Nuclear Disaster

A court in Japan has ordered the government and the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay ¥500-million in damages to residents affected by the March 2011 triple meltdown.

I know… many of you are going - Holy fug! ¥500-million… yen… how much is that in real money?

You can look here to find a proper monetary equivalent between the yen and your country… but for my purposes (and I know many of you are lazy, or just don't like linking away from here), it’s CDN $5.564 million or, US $4.448 million.

Wow, Andrew! Each person gets that much money? It’s almost worth getting hit by an earthquake, tsunami and being part of a nuclear dumping ground.

Uh… waitaminute… each person doesn't get that much.

In this case, it’s for one particular class-action suit… one involving 3,800 plaintiffs.

So… let’s see… ¥500,000,000 ÷ 3,800 = ¥131,578.95

That sounds like a lot… how much is ¥131,578.95 in other currencies?

Let’s see:
CDN $1,464.88
US $1,170.54

There ya go! That’s… uh… not a lot of money. I won’t tell you that I once spent more than that at a strip club—but I did. In my defense, I was younger and more stupider than I am now. You know how I know that? I know what I wrote and how I wrote it. And, I know how it looks from many points of view… I’m not here to look good.

This, believe it or not, is the largest of the 30 class-action lawsuits filed by a total of 12,000 Fukushima residents—who have made these lawsuits happen because they feel that their lives were adversely affected by the events of the nuclear disaster—a disaster that they say TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power COmpany)—the owner of the dai-ichi power than that is at the crux of the matter—and the Federal government of Japan, should have known that its fail-safes and other preventive measures simply weren’t enough to prevent a triple meltdown at the reactor making it the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 year years previous.

Side trip... was Chernobyl the worst nuclear disaster ever?

If you are the type of person who maps of 1950s USSR, and compares the small villages on the maps on a year-by-year basis, you will notice a now-you-see’um-now-you-don’t thing going on.

Villages there one year, gone the next…with no evidence to suggest otherwise, except that it is long suspected that the Soviet Union often suffered nuclear kerfuffles causing the abject wiping out of whole towns and villages in the turbulent 1950s.

Of course, it might not have been nuclear reactors, and simply nuclear weaponry gone awry. Anyhow, HERE’s an example of one such USSR nuclear meltdown… maybe THIS one, too.

Anyhow… none of this is the point.

The point is, that all of these Fukushima people looking to cash in on a class-action lawsuit against TEPCO for its negligence in preventing the (near) nuclear disaster, basically received US $1,170.54 each… which if you were to divide by the six-and-a-half years it now is after the fact, equates to a not-so staggering US$180.08 for each year's worth of being "put-out". Each. 

Now… that’s not to say that the people in the suit will actually receive that total amount of US$1,170.54… don’t forget the lawyers get their share, too… and Buddha help me, I don’t even want to assume what sort of cut that might be.

Now, I suppose the people involved in the class-action lawsuit realized ahead of time that $1,170.54 is better than nothing, so there is that.

The good out of all this, sarcastically speaking, is that we now know the value of a human life… the loss of dignity et al, is US$1,170.54. Less lawyer’s fees of course. Don't spend it all in one place.

I wonder if you have to pay taxes on this windfall? You do in the U.S., and I believe the U.K., but you do NOT in Canada. Guess which one does NOT suck?

I'm not 100% sure (less lawyer's fees), but I believe in Japan, that class action settlement windfalls  come under its "occasional income" bracket, and are thus taxable.  

So really... do not spend it all in one place.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Newspaper accounts were actually unclear if the ¥500,000,000 pay-out was per person or for the entire group of 3.800 plaintiffs per THIS suit.
If had been per person, it would have been a payout (less lawyer fees) of US$4,448,052... which is what the REAL headline would have been. It wasn't, because it wasn't. 
PPS: Come to Canada... no taxes on windfalls received from class action lawsuits re: improper safety measures around nuclear reactors... and no need to worry about nuclear reactors going stupid, owing to our use of a safer type of uranium.    

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