Fukushima – A court has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay a total of some ¥600 million to 271 plaintiffs over an evacuation caused by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The Iwaki branch of Fukushima District Court reached its conclusion Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by 297 plaintiffs — which included residents of the heavily affected Yamakiya district in the town of Kawamata who were ordered to evacuate — seeking ¥14.7 billion in damages from Tepco.
The plaintiff side expressed its intention to appeal to a higher court.
The suit is the second in a series filed by evacuees who left their homes due to the triple meltdown at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The plaintiffs excluded the state from the suit as it hoped to achieve an early resolution.
In the first suit, Sendai High Court last year ordered Tepco to pay a total of over ¥700 million to evacuees.
In the latest ruling, presiding Judge Yukitaka Najima said the amount of consolation money already paid to evacuees based on the government’s interim guidelines was reasonable. Najima thus stopped short of ordering additional payments.
The payments were made under the law on compensation for nuclear damage, which obliges the operator of a nuclear facility to compensate for damage arising from it regardless whether there was negligence.
Meanwhile, the Iwaki branch ordered Tepco to pay consolation money worth ¥2 million per person for their loss of hometown.
At the same time, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that Tepco is liable under the Civil Code for failing to prevent the accident, which they believe was foreseeable.
A group of lawyers on the plaintiff side criticized the ruling as unjust, saying that the recognized damage is too small.
Tepco said it will examine the ruling and consider its response.
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