Japan's highest court orders TEPCO to pay damages to Fukushima disaster victims

(Xinhua) 19:02, March 04, 2022

TOKYO, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) should pay 1.4 billion yen (12 million U.S. dollars) in damages to about 3,700 residents whose lives were stricken by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

This is the first finalized decision of such damages which cover three class-action lawsuits out of more than 30 filed against the utility, averaging about 380,000 yen (3,290 dollars) per plaintiff, according to NHK.

The court rejected an appeal by TEPCO and ruled it was negligent in taking precautionary measures against a tsunami of that size, NHK said.

The court also withheld a verdict on the role of the government, which is a defendant in the lawsuits as well.

Lower courts have disagreed over the extent of the government's responsibility in foreseeing the disaster and ordering TEPCO to take preventative measures.

A hearing concerning lawsuits against the government will be held next month to rule on its culpability, according to NHK.

A massive tsunami, triggered by an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude off Japan's northeastern coast, struck TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011.

Around 470,000 people were forced to evacuate in the first few days and tens of thousands have not yet been able to return. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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