TOKYO: Japan’s Supreme Court is expected to hand down a unified ruling by this summer on the government’s liability in three lawsuits filed by evacuees from the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.
The top court’s Second Petty Bench said it plans to hold hearings for the three damages lawsuits next month, setting a course for the unified ruling.
The ruling is likely to greatly influence roughly 30 similar lawsuits being heard across the country, 11 years after the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The company has been ordered to pay damages totaling 1.4 billion yen to some 3,600 plaintiffs by Sendai High Court and Tokyo High Court in their appeal rulings on the three lawsuits.
The Supreme Court petty bench on Wednesday rejected appeals to the top court by TEPCO, the first decision finalizing the company’s liability to pay damages over the Fukushima accident beyond government standards. The high courts have ordered the government to pay damages in two of the three lawsuits.
The plaintiffs complain that the government violated law by failing to order TEPCO to prepare for the tsunami though it was aware of the risk of the disaster. There are more than 12,000 plaintiffs across the country.