Japan court orders govt and TEPCO to pay compensation to Fukushima nuclear accident victims


Japan court orders govt and TEPCO to pay compensation to Fukushima nuclear accident victims

What is the decision of the Sendai High Court?

• The Sendai High Court on Wednesday ordered the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant to pay a compensation of 1 billion yen ($9.5 million) to the victims of the 2011 nuclear crisis.

• The Court for the first time held the government and the nuclear plant together negligent for their actions in failing to take precautionary measures to prevent the massive damage to the livelihoods of thousands of residents who were seen to leave their homes after the nuclear disaster.

• The government and TEPCO were given a time period till mid-October to appeal to the Supreme Court of Japan against the ruling of this court.

• The Sendai High Court while affirming the decision of a Fukushima district court observed that both the government and TEPCO, despite knowing the possibility of a major tsunami, neglected to conduct a risk assessment and implement some additional safety measures to prevent harm to the victims.

What led to the evacuation of such a large number of residents from the neighbourhoods of the plant area? (SLIDE 3, heading on top, and picture below)

• A major earthquake and a 15-meter tsunami triggered a partial meltdown in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant leading to the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl.

• Thousands of residents were evacuated due to the spreading of radioactive contamination over the surrounding area.

Why is this decision important?

• The lawyers representing more than 3,600 plaintiffs in the instant case are of the opinion that this decision or the results of an appeal can set a precedent for subsequent as well as similar lawsuits pending across the country.

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