Japan’s top court says government not liable for Fukushima disaster
Tokyo, June 17 (EFE).- The Japanese Supreme Court Friday said the government could not be held liable for compensations demanded by the people affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The ruling that absolves the state of responsibility for the crisis may set a precedent and affect the outcomes of similar lawsuits filed across the country, seeking compensation from the government and holding it responsible for the accident.
The top court dismissed the petitions by some 3,700 people who had to flee their homes as the disaster devastated their lives.
They had filed four lawsuits separately in Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, and Ehime prefectures against the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The court said the tsunami that hit Fukushima was worse than expected, and even if the state had ordered Tepco to take additional measures, it was likely that the accident was not avoidable.
Lower courts were split over the extent of the state’s responsibility for the disaster since the government was the regulator.
Of the four lawsuits, high courts found the state responsible except in the Gunma case.
The ruling leaves the owner of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tepco, solely responsible for paying just over 1,400 million yen (roughly $10 million) in compensation for damages for the four lawsuits.
Japan is still awaiting the final resolution of dozens of legal cases related to the nuclear disaster as victims argue that the catastrophe was avoidable with preventive measures.
They claim compensation for the devastation of their homes and the prolonged impact on their lives.
The earthquake and tsunami triggered partial meltdowns in three of the plant’s four reactor cores, spreading radioactive contamination over a wide area around the plant and forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.
More than 15,500 continued to live in temporary accommodations. EFE