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Japanese youth sue over cancer diagnoses following Fukushima nuclear disaster

Six young Japanese individuals are suing the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant after receiving cancer diagnoses in the years following the 2011 nuclear disaster. The individuals are suffering from thyroid cancer and were aged between six and sixteen at the time of the incident. The cancer was developed as a result of radiation exposure. All of them underwent surgical operations to remove parts of their thyroid glands as treatment for the disease. Although they may have a strong case, they may struggle to prove that the radiation from the incident led directly to the cancer. Their lawsuit is seeking $5.4 million in compensation from the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

A Tepco spokesman stated that the company was aware of the case filing and would address the matter publicly once the details are clarified. The Fukushima nuclear disaster is the worst nuclear power incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. However, far lower quantities of radioactive iodine were released in the former. The long-term effects of the radiation remain controversial and debated. Last year, a UN experts panel concluded that the disaster had not led to direct health problems for the population in the region. In addition, a World Health Organization investigation found in 2013 that the disaster would not cause any observable increase in cancer rates.

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