26 Mars 2018
March 23, 2018
Seventh court orders TEPCO to pay evacuees from Fukushima
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
A seventh court ruling has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay compensation to evacuees whose daily lives were turned upside down after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The Iwaki branch of the Fukushima District Court on March 22 ordered the utility to pay a total of 610 million yen ($5.8 million) in compensation to 213 plaintiffs. The court said the company failed to take measures that could have prevented or reduced the damage to the nuclear plant from the tsunami that devastated coastal areas of the Tohoku region.
Like some previous rulings against TEPCO, the Iwaki branch awarded a compensation amount that went beyond the central government’s guidelines. The ruling included payments for the “loss of one’s hometown,” which covers the destruction of community life, concerns about radiation exposure as well as loss of psychological support.
The court ordered an additional 700,000 yen to 1.5 million yen per plaintiff depending on the evacuation order level that was issued for their neighborhoods.
The central government was not named as a defendant in the latest lawsuit, but the trend so far could influence other litigation before various district courts around Japan. About 30 lawsuits have been filed by Fukushima evacuees.
In five of the seven lawsuits in which the central government has been named as a defendant, four rulings have ordered Tokyo to pay compensation as well.
In those four rulings, the district courts pointed to a 2002 study that mentioned the possibility of a tsunami-spawning earthquake striking in a wide area ranging from off the Sanriku coast in the Tohoku region to off the coast of the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture.
Based on that study, TEPCO calculated that a tsunami as high as 15.7 meters could possibly hit the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The four rulings concluded the central government was responsible for compensation because of its failure to instruct TEPCO to take measures that could have limited the tsunami damage to the plant.
The rulings have varied in their judgments on when it was possible to assume a tsunami would strike off the coast where the nuclear plant is located. The periods have ranged from “sometime within 2002” to “2006 at the latest.”
The rulings have also varied on when the central government should have issued instructions or orders to TEPCO, from “about the end of 2002” to “March 2008 at the latest.”
March 22, 2018
Another court orders TEPCO to pay damages to Fukushima evacuees
FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A Japanese district court on Thursday ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima power plant to pay 610 million yen ($5.7 million) in damages to evacuees from the 2011 tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster, the seventh such decision against the utility.
In the lawsuit at the Iwaki branch of the Fukushima District Court, 216 plaintiffs, most of whom are evacuees from areas within 30 kilometers of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, sought a total of 13.3 billion yen in compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.
The latest ruling is the seventh among 30 similar lawsuits filed nationwide by evacuees and victims seeking damages from TEPCO alone or both the utility and state.
The plaintiffs, including bereaved family members of the evacuees, argued the operator could have foreseen the accident caused by the massive tsunami based on the government's 2002 long-term assessment of major quakes, and demanded damages for their "loss of hometown" in addition to the amount already paid by TEPCO.
TEPCO, meanwhile, said it could not have predicted the tsunami and claimed that damages have been paid to the evacuees in accordance with the government's compensation guidelines.
In another court ruling involving TEPCO on Thursday, the Sendai High Court in the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi rescinded part of an earlier decision by a district court and said Tepco should clean up farmland contaminated by radiation following the Fukushima disaster.
The high court returned the case to the Fukushima District Court for further examination. In the suit, eight farmers and an agricultural entity from five Fukushima municipalities urged TEPCO to ensure the radiation contamination of farmland is returned to pre-disaster levels.
"It is clear that TEPCO should conduct the (decontamination) work," Presiding Judge Hisaki Kobayashi said.
The plaintiffs demanded Tepco replace the top 30 centimeters of contaminated farmland with clean soil. In April last year, the district court rejected their claims, saying a process to remove only radioactive materials from soil has not been established.