Japanese media is reporting that a Japanese court has ruled that the government and plant operator TEPCO bear responsibility for the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
The district court in Maebashi, a city about 130 km northwest of Tokyo, found both the government and TEPCO liable and ordered them to pay a total ¥38.6 million ($340,000) to multiple plaintiffs, who evacuated from their homes following the accident.
This is the first known ruling in a group lawsuit by evacuees seeking compensation from both the government and the utility over the world’s most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, reported that circumstances surrounding each individual claim meant just under half of the 137 plaintiffs were awarded compensation, which fell well short of the 1.5 billion yen initially sought.
The Maebashi court’s ruling was based on a long-held claim that the government had failed to assert its right to ensure that safety measures deemed necessary at the plant to prevent such an accident had been implemented. The court said that had the government done so it would have been “possible to prevent the accident.”