A district court Tuesday ordered the state and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant to pay damages over the 2011 tsunami-triggered disaster, making it the second ruling of its kind in a series of group lawsuits filed nationwide.
In holding the government and TEPCO liable in the class-action lawsuit, the Fukushima district court ordered payments totaling almost $4.5 million to about 3,800 plaintiffs - roughly $1,184 per person.
Nuclear Regulation Authority spokesman Kazuhiro Okuma told reporters that the authority plans to discuss whether to appeal the ruling with other government agencies.
The plaintiffs and their lawyers issued a statement saying the ruling "legally determined the negligence of both the government's nuclear policy and Tepco, which supported a "nuclear myth" that put a priority on economic interests rather than on safety".
In another ruling last month, a court ordered TEPCO to pay $3.4 million to around 45 former Fukushima residents.
The Fukushima District Court said the government had failed to order Tokyo Electric Power Co.to improve safety measures despite knowing as early as 2002 of a risk of a massive tsunami in the region.
The government and Tepco, for their part, claimed the assessment was not established knowledge, and that the tsunami could not have been foreseen. Of the three, only the Chiba court dismissed claims against the state.
They demanded payment of monthly compensation in the amount of 50 thousand yen (the equivalent of about 380 euros) up until the level of radiation contamination in the Fukushima area will be reduced to indicators, Samarasya before the accident.
They also urged that radiation levels be restored to the levels before the accident, or below 0.04 microsievert per hour, but the court rejected the request.
In its defense, the government said that before the meltdowns, it did not have the power to force Tepco to take protective anti-flooding measures and was only authorized to do so by legislation passed after the accident.
The tsunami that swept into the plant on March 11, 2011, knocked out the reactors' cooling system and destroyed the backup generators that could have kept it running and kept the nuclear fuel stable.
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