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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 February 17 - 23  > Fukushima evacuees win reversal in appellate court
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2021 February 17 - 23 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Fukushima evacuees win reversal in appellate court

February 20, 2021

The Tokyo High Court on February 19 ordered both the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay a total of 278 million yen in compensation to 43 evacuees who fled to Chiba Prefecture following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The 43 plaintiffs won a court ruling reversal. A lower court in Chiba had passed over state responsibility for the Fukushima accident.

The appeals court judged that the government's negligence in exercising its authority over TEPCO regarding tsunami-resistant measures was "illegal", and held the government responsible. The court pointed out that measures against a potential tsunami should have been taken by such means as installing tide walls or installing watertight turbine buildings and equipment rooms in order to prevent a total loss of power. If just these two measures had been taken, "the total loss of power would not have occurred," according to the court.

The court said that the plaintiffs' psychological damage associated with having to live in unfamiliar locations distant from their hometowns should also be compensated since the basis of their economic, social, and cultural environment which had supported their daily life activities was lost.

Plaintiff Nanbara Seiju who evacuated from Fukushima's Minamisoma City said joyfully, "Today will give us a new lease on life." His wife Sonoe added, saying, "I'm happy with the court decision today."

About 30 similar lawsuits are pending in Japan. The appellate ruling was the third case and the second case after the Sendai High Court in September of last year acknowledged state responsibility for the consequences of the nuclear meltdown accident ten years ago.

Past related articles:
> Fukushima nuclear accident victims: Gov’t arrogantly requests top court to reverse Sendai High Court decision [October 14, 2020]
> Sendai High Court orders TEPCO and gov’t to compensate affected residents for damages caused by Fukushima nuclear accident [October 1, 2020]
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