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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 20 - 26  > Court denies state responsibility for 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown
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2017 September 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Court denies state responsibility for 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown

September 23, 2017
The Chiba District Court on September 22 issued a ruling rejecting a claim lodged by 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown victims that the national government compensate them for damages as it neglected to implement preventive measures.

In the same ruling, the court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the crippled Fukushima Daiichi NPP, to pay damages to the victims.

The plaintiffs are 45 people who were forced to evacuate from Fukushima to Chiba after the nuclear accident. In the court battle they demanded that the national government and TEPCO pay a total of 2.8 billion yen in compensation. This is the second ruling among 30 similar lawsuits around the nation after the Maebashi District Court in March ruled that both the national government and TEPCO have the responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear accident.

The latest ruling acknowledges that by 2006 at the latest, the state government became aware that the Fukushima NPP site could be flooded due to a quake-induced massive tsunami. The ruling, however, states that even if the government had taken measures to prevent an inundation from causing the loss of power supply at the plant, it could have failed to avoid the 2011 nuclear meltdowns. The court judgment states that it is not unreasonable for the national government to have stopped short of instructing the utility to implement safety measures.

On the other hand, the Chiba court ruling gave TEPCO an order to pay a total of 376 million yen to 42 of the 45 plaintiffs in compensation.

After the ruling, the plaintiffs and their lawyers issued a statement which asserts that the court refusal to accept their compensation claim against the national government is “totally unacceptable”. Concerning the amount of damages that the court ordered the utility to pay, the statement notes, “It is insufficient to cover the actual magnitude of the suffering.” The plaintiffs will appeal to a higher court.

Past related articles:
> District court: Fukushima nuclear accident could have been prevented [March 18, 2017]
> Plaintiffs seeking damages for Fukushima disaster form national network [February 14, 2016]
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