TEPCO ordered to pay $142,000 in damages

TEPCO ordered to pay $142,000 in damages

A Japanese court has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company to pay about 142,000 dollars in damages to the family of an elderly man who killed himself amid an evacuation order during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

After an earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi plant experienced nuclear meltdowns. The village of Iitate, where the man lived, was subsequently designated an evacuation zone.

One day after learning that he would have to leave his lifelong home, 102-year-old Fumio Okubo committed suicide.

Members of his family filed a lawsuit demanding that the utility pay a total of 568,000 dollars in damages.

They said Okubo killed himself in the face of an order to evacuate amid the nuclear crisis.

At issue in court was a causal relationship between the suicide and the nuclear disaster.

In the ruling on Tuesday, presiding judge Hideki Kanazawa at the Fukushima District Court said Okubo had lived in the village his entire life and suffered unbearable pain over the evacuation order as he felt he would likely die before he could return home.

After the ruling was handed down, Mieko Okubo, the wife of Fumio Okubo's son, said she feels her father-in-law's wishes have been heard. She said she hope he will now rest in peace, adding that TEPCO should offer sticks of incense for him.