Saturday, February 16, 2013

My film is going international AND going to court?!

I am overwhelmed at the support I have received from people all over the world in the form of comments, e-mails and offers to help with my work documenting the current situation in Fukushima and particularly with my new documentary "A2" (WEBSITE).

Among some of the people helping me are Kna60 (CHANNEL), who translated the French subtitles for the "A2" trailer (below) along with some of my previous work (HERE), and "Miguel" Yasuyuki Hirota, who translated the Spanish and Portuguese versions (below).  Екатерина Коидэ translated the Russian version (below).

To have people want to volunteer their time to help is so humbling, and I am truly grateful.

As I was preparing the international versions earlier today, I was contacted by a lawyer who is representing a group of Fukushima children who have filed a law suit against the local government demanding their right to study in a safe environment.  The lawyer asked me for the full version of "A2" along with an official statement about my findings to be used as evidence in the trial.

Am I going to be subpenaed and required to testify?  What about the participants in the film?

Is the World Premier of "A2" going to be in a Japanese courthouse rather than an international film festival?!?!

***** UPDATED February 19, 2013 *****

I have spoken with the trial lawyer at great length and have shared with him my concerns, some of which are: 
  • It is one thing for me to open myself up to being called as a witness, but I do not want the participants in my documentary to be required to testify.
  • I am still in the middle of editing the film, so I will need to do a special "trial edit".
  • I am not willing to hand over the 50 hours or so of unedited footage.
The lawyer clarified for me how this kind of court case works in Japan (I'm not sure I even understand how this would all work in the US!) and exactly what it is that he's asking me to.

After careful consideration and receiving the blessing of each of the mothers who appear in the film, I have decided to allow my documentary, "A2", to be used as evidence in the case.  I have already submitted my written statement to the lawyer so that an official Japanese translation can be made, and I am working on the "trial edit" today.  My statement and documentary film will be filed as evidence on Thursday.

The lawyer has assured me that if at some point it becomes clear that I require legal representation, which is a very real possibility, that he will represent me.

However, it is my most sincere hope that the focus of this trial remains on that which is the most important part of this story: the children of Fukushima.
Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement.

Ian Thomas Ash
February 19, 2013
Tokyo, Japan




N. said...

Sir, whatever will be your final decision, you have my support.

Ian Thomas Ash said...

N., Thank you for your message and support. I have just posted an update about what is happening.
Peace, Ian

Daniel "Dax" Books said...

Please do get a lawyer/attorny to assist you in this matter. From my understanding the Japanese legal system has more bumps and red tape than the American system and as confusing. I will be sending good luck vibes your way ((hug))

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Daniel, Thank you for the advice and good vibes. I do have a lawyer, but I remain hopeful that even while things with the case may escalate, the focus will remain on what is most important: the children. It would be a shame if the focus was suddenly turned on me in an attempt to deflect attention away from the real problems affecting the children. Peace, Ian

Anonymous said...

I am assuming you HAVE made a copy of the footage? How do you know the lawyer is genuine? It could be someone from or linked with the Japanese government who is destroying your footage as I type this.

From the trailer it looks like it will be a very interesting documentary. You have done many people a great service in revealing a lot of truths (assuming you have a copy of the material).

Ian Thomas Ash said...


Thank you for your concern. I would never surrender the original footage. Also, there are copies abroad and in Japan as well, so my hope is that my work is safe.

Thank you again for your concern and supportive comments.