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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 15 - 21  > District court: Fukushima nuclear accident could have been prevented
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2017 March 15 - 21 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

District court: Fukushima nuclear accident could have been prevented

March 18, 2017
The Maebashi District Court on March 17 ruled that the state and TEPCO are liable for damages caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown, ordering them to pay a total of 38.55 million yen to 137 plaintiffs who were forced to evacuate from Fukushima.

About 30 cases of a similar kind with about 12,000 victims on plaintiff lists are also pending in courts in Japan. This ruling will most likely have a great influence on future judgements.

The court concluded that TEPCO was aware of the possibility of an accident as early as July 2002 and that the government must have been aware of the ineffectiveness of TEPCO’s counter-disaster measures by August 2007.

On that basis, the court made its judgement, “It was possible to prevent the accident, and it was irrational and illegal for the government to not wield its regulatory authority over TEPCO.”

Tanji Sugie, one of the 137 plaintiffs who voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima, after the ruling said, “Before filing the lawsuit, I was concerned whether I should join the case. I hesitated to become a plaintiff to seek damages since I am a voluntary evacuee. Some people in fact denigrated me saying, ‘She left her hometown on her own will to receive compensation’.” She went on to say, “It’s been three and a half years since I decided to participate in the suit. Now I am glad for having fought in court.”

Past related articles:
> Plaintiffs seeking damages for Fukushima disaster form national network [February 14, 2016]
> Nuclear evacuees in Kyushu sue gov’t and TEPCO [September 10, 2014]
> 1,650 people sue gov’t and TEPCO for Fukushima damage [March 8 & 12, 2013]
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