Japanese government liable for Fukushima disaster: Court

Japanese government liable for Fukushima disaster: Court

Japanese government liable for Fukushima disaster: Court

A court on Tuesday ordered the state and the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to pay a total of about ¥500 million in damages for the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Closely monitored as a measure of government responsibility, Tuesday's ruling was the second verdict that held the government accountable in the Fukushima meltdowns, increasing hopes for other pending cases.

All the three district court decisions so far have ordered Tepco to pay damages.

The meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, which is on the eastern coast of Japan, occurred when 32-foot waves overpowered the plant's protective sea walls, flooding buildings and destroying diesel-powered electricity generators that were created to keep critical systems functioning in a blackout. He said the regulatory authority is determined to fulfill its duty to strictly examine reactor safety under the new standard based on the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.

In the ruling, Presiding Judge Hideki Kanazawa concluded that the government and Tepco are both to blame for failing to take steps to counter huge tsunami caused by an natural disaster, as they were able to foresee the risks based on a quake assessment issued in 2002.

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"We understand the court did not fully acknowledge the government's defense", said Kazuhiro Okuma, manager of the general affairs division of the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

During the trial, the government and Tepco claimed the quake assessment in question was short of being established knowledge and that the tsunami could not have been foreseen.

The magnitude 9 natural disaster and ensuing tsunami struck parts of the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, causing multiple meltdowns and hydrogen blasts at the nuclear power plant.

They demanded payment of monthly compensation in the amount of 50 thousand yen (the equivalent of about 380 euros) up until the level of radiation contamination in the Fukushima area will be reduced to indicators, Samarasya before the accident. Around 55,000 evacuees were still scattered inside and outside of Fukushima Prefecture as of the end of August.

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