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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 December 18 - 24  > Yamagata court rejects plaintiffs’ claim for state responsibility in regard to 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown
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2019 December 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Yamagata court rejects plaintiffs’ claim for state responsibility in regard to 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown

December 18, 2019
This is the fourth court decision of this kind among 10 damage lawsuits that Fukushima evacuees filed across Japan against the national government.

The district court in its ruling acknowledged that as of 2002, based on official data regarding long-term evaluation of seismic hazards, the government should have properly instructed TEPCO to improve its preparedness at the Fukushima nuclear power plant for a potential massive earthquake and tsunami. The court, however, dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand for state compensation by saying that no one knows if the government instruction could have prevented the Fukushima NPP from causing nuclear meltdowns.

Furthermore, regarding the plaintiffs’ claim for a total of 8.1 billion yen in compensation against the state and TEPCO, the district court cited that more than 90% of the 734 plaintiffs are evacuees from areas outside the evacuation-designated zone and ordered TEPCO to pay 440,000 in total to only five plaintiffs.

At a press conference after the ruling, speaking on behalf of the plaintiffs’ legal team, lawyer Tozuka Isao criticized the court for lacking an in-depth understanding of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown accident and for turning its back on evacuees’ hardships. He said that the plaintiffs will appeal to a higher court.

A female plaintiff in her 30s who fled from Fukushima’s Koriyama City was angered at the court decision.

Murata Hiroshi, who heads a group of Fukushima evacuees in Kanagawa Prefecture fighting a similar court battle, said that the court ruling rubber stamped assertions made by the national government and TEPCO at the trial.

Past related article:
> Court denies state responsibility for 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown [September 23, 2017]
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