Fukushima residents won their collective lawsuit against the government and Fukushima nuclear power plant. The residents will be paid out the 500m yen in damages, the court decided.
The judicial system of Japan faced with the most massive and rare lawsuit – Fukushima meltdown in 2011 made the local residents sued the government and the operator plant.
The cases hinge on whether the government and Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power) could have foreseen the disaster in 2011. In fact, it knocked out the plant’s cooling systems and destroyed backup generators that could have been used to prevent the fuel melting in three of its six reactors.
The class-action lawsuit, involving 3,800 plaintiffs, is the largest of about 30 similar cases filed by 12,000 Fukushima residents who say their lives were in danger.
According to the experts, Fukushima Daiichi was the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. Tepco, which ran the plant when it was struck by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, has been ordered to pay damages in all three court rulings to date.
The plaintiffs, who included Fukushima residents who were not told to evacuate, will each receive up to 360,000 yen, according to the verdict. Additionally, it said the government had failed to order Tepco to improve safety measures, despite the awareness of the risk of a powerful tsunami.
The Japanese government also argued that it only obtained powers to force Tepco to take anti-flooding measures after a legislative change following the disaster.