High Court Rejects N-damages Claim against Govt

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Nagoya District Court

NAGOYA (Jiji Press) — The Nagoya High Court on Wednesday rejected a damages claim against the Japanese government by evacuees who fled Fukushima Prefecture due to the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

In the lawsuit, some 120 plaintiffs who evacuated to Aichi, Shizuoka and Gifu prefectures demanded a total of ¥528 million from the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., saying they were deprived of their peaceful lives because of the nuclear accident triggered by the March 2011 huge earthquake and tsunami.

Presiding Judge Toru Matsumura upheld a Nagoya District Court ruling that rejected the claim against the state and ordered only TEPCO to pay damages. The high court ordered the company to pay 89 plaintiffs a total of ¥75 million as it excluded compensation already paid.

Matsumura found that the government was able to foresee a major tsunami by the end of 2002, based on a long-term seismic risk assessment released by a government institution the same year.

But he determined that the meltdown could not have been prevented even if the government had ordered TEPCO to take safety measures.

The judge ordered TEPCO to pay damages based on the nuclear damage compensation law, which stipulates that power companies bear compensation liability for damage caused by a nuclear accident regardless of whether the accident resulted from negligence.