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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 11 - 17  > Court orders state and TEPCO to pay Y500 million in damages to 2011 meltdown sufferers
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2017 October 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Court orders state and TEPCO to pay Y500 million in damages to 2011 meltdown sufferers

October 11, 2017
The Fukushima District Court on October 10 ordered the state and TEPCO to pay plaintiffs about 500 million yen in compensation for damages caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown accident, ruling that the defendants are legally responsible for the disaster.

After the ruling, lawyers for the plaintiffs ran out of the court house, carrying banners that read, “Victory!” The crowds gathered let out a cheer, “We won!” and began calling out in unison, “Say ‘No’ to restart!”

The plaintiffs include about 3,800 affected residents in Fukushima municipalities and the neighboring prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki, and Tochigi.

Ujiie Masayoshi, a plaintiff in Fukushima, said, “This is great. This could open the door to compensation for other victims living outside Fukushima. I don’t want anyone to experience the same suffering and fear we have experienced. The best solution, I believe, is to decommission all nuclear reactors. In this regard, the Abe government ignores our demands. He continues to push forward with the resumption of nuclear power generation. I hope he will listen to our demands and take today’s ruling seriously.”

The plaintiffs’ counsel issued a statement which welcomes the court decision by stating, “It statutorily defined the negligence of the government and TEPCO as illegal for their having depended on the ‘safety myth’ and for having prioritized economic interests over safety.” The statement continues, “The decision embodied the judicial authorities’ role to realize property and environmental values as a grounding for life, health, and existence guaranteed in the Constitution.”

This was the third ruling among similar collective lawsuits and the second decision holding the government responsible after the Maebashi District Court ruling in March. The decision this time, however, rejected the plaintiffs’ claim to have radiation levels decreased below the levels in the pre-accident days.

Past related articles:
> Court denies state responsibility for 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown [September 23, 2017]
> District court: Fukushima nuclear accident could have been prevented [March 18, 2016]
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