Hundreds of Fukushima evacuees sue Tepco for ¥6 billion


More than 340 people forced to evacuate by the atomic meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011 filed a lawsuit Friday against Tokyo Electric Power Co. demanding around ¥6 billion in compensation.

In the case, filed with the Tokyo District Court, the 344 plaintiffs from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, are seeking ¥10 million in damages for mental suffering and monthly payments of ¥200,000 for three years from the utility once the evacuation order for the Odaka area is lifted, their lawyers said.

The evacuees had sought to settle the case through an alternative dispute resolution system but decided to take it to court after Tepco, which runs the plant, rejected the terms of settlement, the lawyers said.

According to a written complaint, Odaka, which used to be a town, was designated as an evacuation zone in April 2012. People are allowed to enter part of the area but are not permitted to live there.

As of November, more than 46,000 people were living outside of Fukushima Prefecture as evacuees, according to the prefectural government.

“We have been deprived of our hometown and families have been broken apart. I hope to return to our lives as they were before the accident as soon as possible,” said Isao Enei, 73, a former mayor of the town before it merged with Minamisoma.