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Japan court rules Tepco liable over Fukushima

A court in Japan on Friday ordered Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to pay compensation to a group of former Fukushima residents, the second such ruling following the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, Japanese media reported.

However, the ruling by the Chiba district court, east of Tokyo, did not find the government liable for compensation, in contrast to a March ruling in another court that ordered both the government and Tepco to pay compensation to a separate group of evacuees.

Tepco is facing mounting legal claims over the disaster, with about 12,000 former Fukushima residents filing about 30 similar class action lawsuits seeking compensation, media reports said.


In the Chiba case, a group of 45 residents sought damages totalling about 2.8 billion yen ($25 million) for the emotional distress of fleeing their homes as radiation spread from the meltdowns at Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi plant after an earthquake and tsunami more than six ago.

Tepco was ordered to pay a total of 376 million yen ($3.36 million) for 42 of the evacuees, Kyodo and Jiji reported.

Tepco on Friday said it would review the contents of the ruling before making a response.

Some 15,000 people died in March 2011 when three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered meltdowns after a magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated a swathe of Japan’s northeastern coastline.

Tepco has long been criticized for ignoring the threat posed by natural disasters to the Fukushima plant and both the company and government were lambasted for their handling of the crisis.

In December, the government nearly doubled its projections for costs related to the disaster to 21.5 trillion yen ($192 billion), increasing pressure on Tepco to step up reform and improve its performance.