Fukushima: Japan court finds government liable for nuclear disaster

Fukushima to host Tokyo Olympics events to help recovery from nuclear disaster

A district court in Maebashi, Japan, has ruled that both the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company should have taken steps to avoid the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Generating Station, given a government report in 2002 indicated that a huge tsunami in the region was possible.

A magnitude-9.0 quake in 2011 triggered a massive tsunami which destroyed the emergency power and then the cooling system of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and caused a serious nuclear disaster, forcing some 300,000 people to evacuate.

The water overwhelmed reactor cooling systems and sent three into meltdown, spewing radiation over a wide area in Japan's worst postwar disaster and the world's most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

In the ruling, the Maebashi District Court ordered the government and TEPCO to pay a total of some ¥38.55 million to residents of Gunma Prefecture who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture following the meltdowns at the plant triggered by a 9.0-magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami.

Public broadcaster NHK, citing the court, reported that only 62 out of 137 participants in the case were awarded compensation as the court ruled that the decision was based on the individual situation surrounding their evacuation.

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The two parties have been ordered to pay [BBC report] a total of Dollars $341,000 to 62 out of 137 evacuees who sought damages for emotional distress.

The district court north of Tokyo found that the government and the plant's operator Tepco were responsible.

Tepco said in a statement it would review the contents of the ruling before responding. The government argued that the damaging power of the quake could not have been predicted.

Anti-nuclear sentiment runs high in Japan, but the government has been resolute in restarting reactors that were closed in the aftermath of the disaster.

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