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Japan court rejects demand to evacuate children while acknowledging radiation risks on health via Washington Post

TOKYO — A Japanese court has rejected a demand that a city affected by the fallout of the country’s 2011 nuclear disaster evacuate its children.

The unusual lawsuit was filed on behalf of the children by their parents and anti-nuclear activists in June 2011. The Sendai High Court handed down its ruling Wednesday.

The case had drawn international attention because it touched the uncertainties about the effects of continuous low-dose radiation on health, especially that of children, who are far more vulnerable than adults.

The lawsuit argued the city of Koriyama had legal responsibility to evacuate children at elementary schools and junior-high schools, which are part of compulsory education under Japanese law.

The court acknowledged radiation in the city exceeded levels deemed safe prior to the disaster. But it said the government shoulders no responsibility for evacuating the schools as demanded — in effect, telling people to leave on their own if they were worried.

Toshio Yanagihara, one of the lawyers, said the ruling was unfair as the children were “victims with absolutely no responsibility for the nuclear accident.”

A lower court threw out the original case in December 2011, but that ruling was appealed. The latest ruling can also be appealed.

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