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Japanese district court rules TEPCO liable for Fukushima nuclear disaster

EBR Staff Writer Published 25 September 2017

The Chiba District Court in Japan held Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) responsible for the disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and has directed it to pay evacuees a compensation of JPY376m ($3.3m).

However, the court has absolved the Japanese government of any responsibility in the 2011 accident, as per a report in The Asahi Shimbun.

The nuclear plant located in eastern Japan was damaged by a tsunami resulting from an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 on the Richter scale. It resulted in nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen-air explosions and the emission of radioactive material in three of its units.

Owing to life-threatening conditions in the vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear plant, a huge number of evacuations were carried out by the Japanese government.

As per reports in the Japanese media, TEPCO, the plant owner has been hit with around 30 class action lawsuits by nearly 12,000 ex-residents of Fukushima seeking compensation.

The latest judgment is the second till date to have come out among the other class action suits filed at various Japanese district courts.

It follows the March judgment from the Maebashi District Court, which in contrast, had held the Japanese government responsible as well along with TEPCO. It had directed the two parties to pay JPY38.55m ($0.34m) for 62 plaintiffs.

TEPCO revealed that it has received a JPY71.3bn ($640m) last week from the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF) as a funding grant to cover its compensation payouts.

The company stated: “With financial assistance from the NDF, we are determined to continue to pay the compensation with courtesy and compassion to all of those who have been afflicted by the nuclear damage.”