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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 September 30 - October 6  > Sendai High Court orders TEPCO and gov’t to compensate affected residents for damages caused by Fukushima nuclear accident
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2020 September 30 - October 6 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Sendai High Court orders TEPCO and gov’t to compensate affected residents for damages caused by Fukushima nuclear accident

October 1, 2020
The Sendai High Court on September 30 ruled that the national government and Tokyo Electric Power Company should pay one billion yen in total to 3,550 residents of Fukushima and neighboring prefectures in compensation for the damages caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.

In the court battle, the plaintiffs claimed that the state and TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, should pay damages of 21.5 billion yen and restore their original living conditions through radiation decontamination. At the first trial, the Fukushima District Court ordered the national government and the utility to pay 500 million yen to the plaintiffs.

In front of the court building, at the news that the appeals court judged both the government and TEPCO as liable for the loss and increased the amount of damages, some plaintiffs and their supporters broke out into applause. Nakajima Takashi, who heads the plaintiffs’ group, said, “The court has acknowledged that the national government should also be held responsible for the nuclear meltdown accident.” Noting that in similar lawsuits fought across Japan, some courts denied the responsibility of the national government, Nakajima stressed, “The latest ruling put a stop to the streak of unjust rulings.”

Later on the same day at a press conference, lawyer Kikuchi Hiroshi, who co-heads the plaintiffs’ legal team, pointed out that in contrast to the district court decision that the national government responsibility for the accident is secondary, the high court recognized that the government and TEPCO have a joint responsibility to compensate for damages. Kikuchi expressed his hope that this court recognition will be reflected in similar ongoing court battles.

On the same day, the plaintiffs and their lawyers published a statement on the ruling. The statement reads, “The ruling holds the state and TEPCO responsible for the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. This will contribute not only to the prevention of recurrence of such an accident and the provision of full support to the victims, but also to the reconstruction and revitalization of affected towns and cities.”

The statement urges the state and TEPCO to accept the court ruling sincerely, refrain from appealing to the Supreme Court, provide sufficient compensation to all who were affected by the 2011 Fukushima accident, and give up nuclear power generation.

Past related articles:
> Matsuyama court: State and TEPCO neglect to take measures to protect Fukushima NPP from tsunami damage [March 27, 2019]
> Yokohama court: gov't and utility liable for damages caused by 2011 N-meltdown [February 21, 2019]
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