• Kyodo


The Osaka District Court on Friday dismissed a request by a resident to halt two reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture because they might be attacked by North Korean missiles.

While noting that North Korea is developing missiles that put Japan at risk, the presiding Judge Junko Mori of the Osaka District Court said it is uncertain North Korea will actually target the two reactors at the plant run by Kansai Electric Power Co. as argued by the resident.

“The possibilities of whether an attack will be launched on Japan and, if so, whether that is going to be directed toward the Takahama plant, as well as whether the missiles will actually land on the facilities, are unclear,” the judge said.

The 82-year-old woman in Osaka Prefecture who sought the injunction said she is considering appealing the decision. Kansai Electric welcomed the decision and vowed to continue safe operations.

North Korea has repeatedly conducted nuclear weapons tests and launched ballistic missiles both toward the Sea of Japan and over Japan.

Many the lawsuits and injunction requests filed over reactor safety since the March 2011 triple core meltdown at Fukushima No. 1 power plant have focused on safety regulations and the risk posed by natural disasters.

In Friday’s case, however, the woman argued that Japan’s missile defenses are insufficient to defend the power plants and that radiation contamination caused by a North Korean attack on the Takahama plant could “broadly” affect the region surrounding Osaka.

The woman lives in Takatsuki, which is within 80 km of the plant.

Kansai Electric insisted that there is no evidence that North Korea would target Japan’s nuclear reactors and that its missiles would not have the accuracy to hit specific facilities.

The Takahama plant has four reactors, but only Nos. 3 and 4 are running.

In a different case, the Otsu District Court issued an injunction in March 2016 compelling one of the Takahama reactors to be shut down and the other to remain idle due to safety concerns. But they were reactivated in May and June last year after the injunction was nullified by the Osaka High Court.