FUKUSHIMA: Fukushima District Court on Tuesday ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay a total of ¥1,529 million yen in damages to residents near its tsunami-stricken nuclear plant.
In the lawsuit, 587 plaintiffs had demanded a total of some 12.9 billion yen from TEPCO and the Japanese government, after they were forced to evacuate due to the March 2011 triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The plaintiffs are residents of the Odaka district in Minamisoma in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima, located within 20 kilometers of the plant. They were forced to evacuate until 2016, when an evacuation order for the district was lifted.
Fukushima District Court Presiding Judge Rika Ogawa did not acknowledge government liability.
The judge found it difficult for the government to demand that TEPCO take immediate safety measures against tsunami based on a long-term risk assessment released by a government institution in 2002 that indicated the possibility of a huge earthquake.
Over similar lawsuits filed by evacuees from the nuclear accident, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June last year that rejected government liability, saying that it was highly likely that the accident could not have been prevented even if the government had ordered TEPCO to take safety measures.
In a ruling issued also on Tuesday over a similar lawsuit filed by 313 residents of Minamisoma’s Kashima district, the district court ordered TEPCO to pay them 29.59 million yen in damages, while rejecting government liability.
Meanwhile, Okayama District Court on Tuesday ordered TEPCO to pay a total of 30.95 million yen to 105 people who were forced to evacuate from Fukushima to Okayama Prefecture, western Japan, due to the nuclear accident. The court did not recognize government liability.