Disasters & Accidents

Japanese court exempts govt from Fukushima incident responsibility

Tokyo, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- A Japanese court ruled Thursday that the Japanese Government cannot be held liable for the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in 2011, reversing a lower court decision.

The resolution issued Thursday by the Tokyo Superior Court invalidates the sentence issued in September by another Sendai court (east), and is the first of a court of this level in favor of the State after 30 judgments of lower courts that held the government responsible.

In today’s decision, however, the Tokyo court decided to uphold the lower court order for the government to compensate a group of those affected by the nuclear accident triggered by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

The state will have to pay about 38.55 million yen ($373,000) to 62 residents of the area forced to leave their homes due to the nuclear catastrophe.

The ruling, however, could ultimately be appealed to at the Supreme Court.

In Japan, dozens of court cases initiated by groups of victims of the nuclear disaster are still pending final resolution, arguing that the catastrophe could have been avoided with preventive measures and claiming compensation for the destruction of homes and the impact on their lives.

The earthquake and tsunami triggered partial meltdowns in three of the four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which ended up spreading radioactive contamination over a large area around the plant and forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate.

This accident is considered the worst in history after Chernobyl (Ukraine) in 1986, and its consequences still keep 55,000 people unable to return to their homes.

In addition to the compensation ordered by the courts, the government compensated those displaced for their compulsory evacuation, included in the huge cost faced by the public coffers for the dismantling of the plant and related expenses, estimated at about 20 trillion yen. EFE-EPA


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