Japan’s Supreme Court says government is not responsible for Fukushima damage

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The effect of the ruling as a precedent will be closely monitored, the media said.

A massive tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, struck Tokyo Electric Power’s (Tepco) Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl caused and hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes.

Plaintiffs sought damages from both Tepco and the country in several class action lawsuits, and in March the Supreme Court upheld an order for Tepco to pay 1.4 billion yen in damages to approximately 3,700 people.

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno immediately declined to comment when asked about the ruling at a press conference, although he was aware of it.

“Regardless of the verdict, we will remain close to those affected by the disaster and continue to do our utmost to rebuild and revive Fukushima,” he said.

About 470,000 people had to evacuate in the first days after the disaster and tens of thousands are still unable to return.

Lower courts were divided over the extent of the government’s responsibility in foreseeing the disaster and ordering Tepco to take steps to prevent it.



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