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YAMAGUCHI (Kyodo) The Yamaguchi District Court ruled Thursday that three fishermen in Iwaishima, Yamaguchi Prefecture, were not obliged to accept compensation for heated waste water that would be released from a nuclear reactor Chubu Electric Power Co plans to build in Kaminoseki in the prefecture.

The fishermen, members of the Iwaishima fisheries cooperative, which opposes the construction, had sought the nullification of a pact between a management committee that represented eight local fisheries co-ops and Chubu Electric under which the utility was to pay compensation to fishermen in return for allowing the project to go ahead. The lawsuit had also asked the court to order the suspension of the construction, a request that it rejected.

In ruling that three of the plaintiffs did not have to be compensated for damages, the Iwakuni branch of the district court effectively ruled in their favor, the Iwaishima fishermen said, saying this effectively allows them to continue fishing.

Presiding Judge Hitoshi Wakuta said that fisheries co-ops do not have the right to restrict fishing activities that are authorized by the governor.

The committee reached a final agreement in April 2000 under which the eight co-ops would receive a total of some 12.5 billion yen in return for giving up some of their fishing rights in the area of the proposed Kaminoseki nuclear reactor and signed a deal with Chubu Electric. The Iwaishima co-op remained opposed.

The Iwaishima fishermen had said in court that the plant’s heated waste water would flow into the sea, adversely affecting their fishing grounds and, as such, the management committee should not have been able to make a compensation deal without the unanimous approval of its members.