Japanese Court Orders Payments To Plaintiffs Over Fukushima Disaster

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The total cost of dismantling the plant and paying compensation to those affected by the accident will exceed 20 trillion yen, according to a report by Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry made public in March.

The court also upheld arguments by the plaintiffs that TEPCO ignored another chance to take safety measures when a government study group warned in 2008 of a major tsunami triggering a power outage at the plant. The residents will be paid out the 500m yen in damages, the court decided.

The cases hinge on whether the government and Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power) could have foreseen the disaster in 2011.

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The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an quake and a killer tsunami.

A Japanese court yesterday ordered the government and the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to pay ¥500 million (US$4.5 million) to thousands of area residents and evacuees who were demanding compensation for their livelihoods lost in the 2011 nuclear crisis.

Around 12,000 people who fled due to radiation fears have filed various group lawsuits against the government and TEPCO.

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Additionally, it said the government had failed to order Tepco to improve safety measures, despite the awareness of the risk of a powerful tsunami.

In the aftermath of the quake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, the Fukushima plant had suffered the worst nuclear disaster (since the one at Chernobyl in 1986), that had displaced thousands of people and adversely affected local businesses. Three of the plant's six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

Both Tepco and the government argued that quake predictions made by the government's own research unit were too vague and that they could not have taken appropriate measures to guard against the flooding that occurred.

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