Fri, Mar 16, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Japanese court orders Fukushima reparations

AFP, TOKYO

A Japanese court yesterday ordered the government to pay US$1 million in new damages over the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, ruling it should have predicted and avoided the meltdown.

The Kyoto District Court ordered the government and power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to pay ¥110 million (US$1 million) in damages to 110 local residents who had to leave Fukushima Prefecture, a court official and local media said.

The verdict was the third time the government has been ruled liable for the meltdown in eastern Japan, the world’s most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

In October last year, a court in Fukushima city ruled that both the government and TEPCO were responsible, following a similar ruling in March in the eastern city of Maebashi.

However, another court, in Chiba near Tokyo, in September last year ruled that only the operator was liable.

Judge Nobuyoshi Asami yesterday ordered that 110 plaintiffs who saw their lives ruined and their property destroyed by the disaster be awarded compensation, Jiji Press and other local media reported.

A court spokesman confirmed the reports, telling reporters that the ruling denied damages to several dozen additional plaintiffs.

“That damages for 64 people were not recognized was unexpected and regrettable,” public broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corp quoted a lawyer for the plaintiffs as saying, adding that they would appeal.

About 12,000 people who fled after the disaster due to radiation fears have filed various lawsuits against the government and TEPCO.

Cases have revolved around whether the government and TEPCO, both of whom are responsible for disaster prevention measures, could have foreseen the scale of a tsunami and subsequent meltdown.

Dozens of class-action lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation from the government.

In June last year, former TEPCO executives went on trial in the only criminal case in connection with the disaster. The hearing is ongoing.

Triggered by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake, the tsunami overwhelmed reactor cooling systems, sending three into meltdown and sending radiation over a large area.

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