National / Crime & Legal

Tepco seeks dismissal of damages suit filed in U.S.

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has filed to dismiss a lawsuit in which around 50 plaintiffs are seeking damages from the utility in connection with the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The plaintiffs, including U.S. sailors dispatched to northeastern Japan for the relief operation following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, are seeking damages without fixing the price.

They are also demanding that Tepco set up a fund worth at least $1 billion for medical checks and treatment, arguing they faced risks of cancer and radiation exposure.

In a statement submitted Friday to the U.S. federal court in San Diego, the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant argued the plaintiffs have not clarified what actually caused damage to their health and the suit should be filed in Japan, site of the nuclear crisis.

The original group of plaintiffs sought $110 million in damages when they filed the lawsuit Dec. 21. They changed their demands later, while the number of plaintiffs has since grown to include other U.S. military personnel and families.

The U.S. armed forces conducted the relief operation known as Operation Tomodachi in hard-hit coastal areas in coordination with the Self-Defense Forces.