A Japanese court on Friday ordered a power plant operator to pay damages over the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but dismissed claims against the state.
It is the second time a court has ruled against Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in a suit filed by people who were forced to leave their homes as reactors that lost cooling functions caused meltdowns and spewed massive amounts of radioactive materials into the air.
In the suit filed with the Chiba District Court in March 2013, the plaintiffs -- 45 people who fled Fukushima Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo -- had sought a total of around 2.8 billion yen ($25 million) in damages from the government and Tepco.
The focal point of the Chiba case was whether the government and Tepco were able to foresee the huge tsunami that hit the seaside plant on March 11, 2011, and take preventive measures beforehand, with conflicting claims made by the parties regarding the government's long-term earthquake assessment, which was made public in 2002.
In March, the Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture recognized negligence on the part not just of Tepco but also the government, saying they were able to foresee a tsunami high enough to inundate the plant.
At the time, it was the first such ruling issued among around 30 suits of the same kind and the first to rule in favor of plaintiffs.
© Kyodo News International, Inc., source Newswire