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Japan’s top court orders damages for Fukushima victims in landmark decision -NHK -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: On February 23rd 2017, a worker poses in protective gear and wearing a mask at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Okuma (Fukshima), Japan. REUTERS/Tomohiro Ohsumi

TOKYO, Reuters – Japan’s Supreme Court affirmed an order for Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), to pay damages totalling 1.4 billion yen (or $12 million) to approximately 3,700 victims of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. This was the first such decision.

NHK, a public broadcaster, stated that the average settlement for each plaintiff was 380,000 yen (about $3,290). This included three class action lawsuits against NHK, as well as more than 30 other cases. These are still the first ones to be settled.

In March 2011, a massive tsunami caused by an earthquake measuring 9.0 was unleashed off Japan’s northeast coast. It struck Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, causing the most severe nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Around 470,000 were evacuated in just a few days. Tens of thousands are still unable to return.

The court rejected Tepco’s appeal and found Tepco negligent for not taking precautionary measures to prevent a tsunami that is this large, Friday’s ruling said the broadcaster.

NHK reported that the court did not issue a verdict concerning the government’s involvement in the cases. NHK stated that a hearing will be held next month to decide on its culpability.

Lower courts disagree on the amount of government responsibility for the disaster, and Tepco’s steps to avoid it.

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