Japanese government not liable for damage to refugees from Fukushima nuclear disaster, high court rules say
It was the first high court decision in a series of similar lawsuits brought nationwide.
The court’s Second Petty Bench, chaired by Judge Hiroyuki Kanno, ruled on four class action lawsuits in which about 3,660 residents sought damages from the government. Residents were forced from their homes under government evacuation orders following the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. nuclear power plant following the Great Earthquake in the east of Japan.
“The earthquake and tsunami were bigger than expected,” the high court said. “Therefore, even if the government had forced TEPCO to take preventive measures, the accident could not have been avoided.” About 30 similar lawsuits have been filed, with more than 10,000 plaintiffs seeking to hold the government responsible for the accident. Friday’s decision will likely impact those cases.
In all four class action lawsuits, residents also demanded compensation from TEPCO. In March, the highest court dismissed the company’s appeal and upheld the decision ordering TEPCO to pay compensation above the national standard. The total amount of compensation is approximately 1.45 billion yen, which will now be borne exclusively by TEPCO.