A group of parents and children who were residing in Fukushima Prefecture when the nuclear disaster unfolded in March 2011 is suing the central and prefectural governments for failing to take sufficient steps to protect children from radiation exposure during the crisis.

The 88 plaintiffs are demanding ¥100,000 each in compensation, according to the lawsuit filed Friday at the Fukushima District Court.

In a written complaint, they said the central and prefectural governments failed to promptly release accurate data on airborne radiation levels after the nuclear crisis, neglecting their duty to prevent residential radiation exposure as much as possible, and exposing children to radiation.

The three core meltdowns were triggered when the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, caused a blackout at the poorly protected Fukushima No. 1 power station and knocked out its reactors' primary and backup cooling systems, allowing the fuel to heat up and melt and causing hydrogen explosions that destroyed the containment buildings, ejecting radioactive material into the atmosphere.

As a result, the parents and children are seriously worried about their health down the road and are suffering from mental distress, they said in the complaint.

A 40-year-old mother in the group said at a news conference that she decided to sue because her child became ill after the nuclear crisis. "We've suffered in trying desperately to escape from something invisible for the past 3½ years," she said, referring to the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which is managed by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Of the 88 plaintiffs, 24 children who live in Fukushima and are still attending school there are demanding that local municipal offices affirm their right to receive education in a safe environment.