Japan’s Kyoto District Court on 15 March ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to pay JPY110m ($1m) in damages to 110 of 174 plaintiffs evacuated from the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the March 2011 accident.
The group of plaintiffs had sought a total of JPY850m. It is the fifth of some 30 similar lawsuits, and the third in which a court found both the state and Tepco liable. Local media said the plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling because claims made by a number of them were rejected. The case focused on the extent to which the state and Tepco can be held responsible for putting in place protective measures against tsunami and the danger of low-dose radiation exposure in the evacuated areas.
Judge Nobuyoshi Asami said the government was able, to some extent, to foresee a tsunami, and that it breached the law by failing to order Tepco to take measures against such a scenario. “It is highly likely that the accident could have been avoided if the state had exerted its regulatory authority over Tepco by the end of 2006,” he noted. The court said the impact of low-dose radiation on human health is as yet unclear and instead of using that as the criteria for determining whether an evacuation was necessary, each case was assessed by taking into account the location of the plaintiff’s residence, the time of their evacuation and whether there were accompanying children.