Human Flotsam, Legal Fallout: Japan's Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown
Robert B. Leflar
University of Arkansas School of Law
University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program
Meiji University - School of Law
University of Tokyo - Faculty of Law
March 18, 2012
Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 27, pp. 107-124, 2012
We report on our field research in Fukushima Prefecture in July 2011. We interviewed legal professionals and community leaders in Fukushima City and in towns inundated by the March 2011 tsunami and within a few kilometers of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor.
We catalogued many of the extensive variety of problems faced by Fukushima residents, both evacuees and those who remained in their homes. Many of these problems, both legal and non-legal, arose from government actions as the disaster unfolded and afterwards, including the administration of the initial program for provisional compensation for disaster victims.
We learned that in the wake of disaster, legal professionals (attorneys and shihō shoshi, a class of professionals with limited licenses) play a wide variety of roles in disaster recovery assistance: as listeners, general information providers, problem identifiers, general counselors, legal counselors, advocates on behalf of disaster victims, coordinators in relief efforts, and planners for recovery measures. We give examples of each, drawing on our interviewees’ experiences.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: Japan, nuclear disaster, lawyering skills, compensation systems, disaster recovery, earthquake, tsunami, ADR, client counseling
JEL Classification: K13, K32, K40, L94, L98, N45, Q48, I18, I31, J28, H53, D62, D63, D73Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 20, 2012 ; Last revised: March 22, 2013
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