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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 27 - April 2  > Matsuyama court: State and TEPCO neglect to take measures to protect Fukushima NPP from tsunami damage
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2019 March 27 - April 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Matsuyama court: State and TEPCO neglect to take measures to protect Fukushima NPP from tsunami damage

March 27, 2019
The Matsuyama District Court on March 26 issued a ruling recognizing that the national government and TEPCO should have taken measures to prevent tsunami damage as it could have been foreseen, ordering them to pay a total of about 27 million yen in compensation to 23 plaintiffs who were evacuated from Fukushima in northeast Japan to Ehime in southwest Japan after the 2011 nuclear meltdowns.

In the ruling, the court referred to a long-term evaluation report regarding earthquake occurrence probability in water areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The report was published in 2002 by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion which belongs to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The court pointed out that the evaluation report is objective and stated that the occurrence of massive tsunamis could have been predicted as of the end of 2002 if the government calculated probability based on the evaluation. The court concluded that it was irresponsible of the government to not instruct the Fukushima NPP operator to implement measures to protect the power station from natural disasters.

Furthermore, the court ruled that an escape plan from areas even outside the evacuation-designated zone due to the nuclear accident is essential, and ordered the state and TEPCO to pay compensation to “voluntary” evacuees among the plaintiffs.

At a press conference after the ruling, lawyer Nogaki Yasuyuki recalled that in five similar lawsuits, courts made decisions in support of Fukushima victims’ claim that the state and TEPCO should be held responsible for damages caused by the 2011 nuclear meltdowns. “Their responsibility became unquestionably clear with the recent court decision,” he said.

A male plaintiff who evacuated his home in Fukushima’s Minamisoma City said, “I appreciate that the court ruled that the government must take responsibility. But, the amount of court-ordered compensation is insufficient to cover the damage.”

Past related articles:
> Yokohama court: gov't and utility liable for damages caused by 2011 N-meltdown [February 21, 2019]
> Gov’t and TEPCO again ordered to compensate for Fukushima nuclear disaster damages [March 17, 2018]
> Kyoto court acknowledges state responsibility for Fukushima nuclear meltdown [March 16, 2018]
> District court: Fukushima nuclear accident could have been prevented [March 18, 2017]
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