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A court ruling this week ordering the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay compensation to Fukushima and Ibaraki residents over the March 2011 nuclear disaster underlines the need for both the government and political parties to more seriously tackle the continuing plight of the people whose lives have been disrupted by that catastrophe six years ago. Nuclear energy is among the key campaign issues for the Oct. 22 Lower House election, with some parties calling for a phaseout of nuclear power generation, reflecting lingering safety concerns sparked by the three reactor meltdowns at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Lawmakers and their parties need to come to grips with the lessons from the 2011 accident and the government’s responsibility for the safety of nuclear power.

The Fukushima District Court on Tuesday ordered the national government and Tepco to pay a total of ¥500 million in damages to some 2,900 out of the 3,800 plaintiffs seeking compensation for the 2011 disaster. Following a Maebashi District Court ruling in March and a Chiba District Court decision last month, the latest ruling represents the third court decision awarding more damages than are provided by Tepco under the government-set standards. It is also the second ruling following the Maebashi court decision holding the government liable for compensation as well as Tepco.

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