10 Octobre 2017
October 10, 2017
Court orders compensation for Fukushima victims
The district court in Fukushima Prefecture has ordered the state and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to pay damages for mental distress resulting from the 2011 nuclear accident.
The ruling comes in a class action suit filed by about 3,800 people. It is the 2nd case in which a court has acknowledged the government's liability for post-traumatic distress.
The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit in 2013. They include people who continued to live in their homes in the prefecture as well as those who evacuated from the area after the disaster.
Their suit stated that they suffered and continue to suffer mental distress after the accident destroyed the foundation of their livelihoods.
At issue was whether the government and operator Tokyo Electric Power Company could have foreseen the major tsunami on March 11, 2011, and prevented the damage. Whether TEPCO is paying appropriate compensation to evacuees, as well as the extent of its recipients, were also questioned.
On Tuesday, presiding judge Hideki Kanazawa ruled that the government and TEPCO are responsible for the accident.
More than 12,000 people across Japan have filed class action lawsuits over the accident with courts in 18 prefectures.
The suit in Fukushima Prefecture involves the largest number of plaintiffs. The Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture, eastern Japan, handed down a similar ruling in March.
BREAKING NEWS: Government Ordered to Pay Fukushima Damages
A Fukushima district court in northeastern Japan has ordered the government and the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay damages to about 3,800 plaintiffs affected by the 2011 nuclear accident.
Gov't, Tepco ordered to pay damages for Fukushima disaster
FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered the state and the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to pay damages over the March 2011 nuclear crisis, triggered by a deadly earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The Fukushima District Court ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay a total of 500 million yen ($4.4 million) in the damages suit sought by around 3,800 plaintiffs, the most among around 30 similar suits filed in the wake of one of the world's worst nuclear accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.
The ruling by the Fukushima court is the third against Tepco, following decisions by the Maebashi District Court in March and the Chiba District Court last month. Of the three, only the Chiba court dismissed claims against the state.
While plaintiffs in the two previous cases were evacuees, over 80 percent of those in the Fukushima court case did not flee their homes after the accident.
In the ruling, the court concluded that the government was able to foresee a huge tsunami and avert a subsequent nuclear accident, while dismissing the claim by the plaintiffs that radiation levels around their residences should be restored to what they were before the crisis.
The plaintiffs claimed the government should be held liable because it was able to foresee the tsunami based on an assessment in 2002 and make Tepco take preventive measures.
The long-term earthquake assessment, made by the government's earthquake research promotion unit, predicted a 20 percent chance of a magnitude-8 level tsunami-triggering earthquake occurring along the Japan Trench in the Pacific Ocean within 30 years, including the area off Fukushima.
The government and Tepco, for their part, claimed the assessment was not established knowledge and that the tsunami could not have been foreseen. The government also argued that it only obtained powers to force Tepco to take anti-flooding measures after a legislative change following the disaster.
The plaintiffs also urged that radiation levels at their residences be restored to the levels before the accident. They sought monthly compensation of 50,000 yen until the radiation levels return to the pre-crisis level of 0.04 microsievert per hour.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, causing multiple meltdowns and hydrogen blasts at the nuclear power plant. Around 55,000 people remained evacuated both within and outside Fukushima Prefecture as of the end of August.
Over 10,000 people have joined the roughly 30 suits filed at courts across the country.