Govt., TEPCO appeal damages ruling over Fukushima

Govt., TEPCO appeal damages ruling over Fukushima

Japan's government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, have appealed a court ruling that they must pay damages to a group of evacuees over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The government and TEPCO filed the appeal with the Tokyo High Court on Thursday. The utility operates the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The government and the firm say the decision of the Maebashi District Court, which found them liable for failing to prevent the accident, is unacceptable.

The lower court on March 17th said the defendants could have foreseen the massive tsunami that hit the plant in March 2011 and taken steps to prevent the accident.
The district court in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, ordered the defendants to pay more than 38 million yen, or about 340,000 dollars, in damages to 62 of 137 plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs had moved to Gunma from Fukushima Prefecture, including areas near the plant.

They claimed that they suffered mental distress from having to evacuate and losing their livelihood.

The ruling was the first handed down in a series of similar suits filed by more than 12,000 people across Japan.