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Japan's top court says govt not responsible for Fukushima damage: media

By Reuters   June 16, 2022 | 10:35 pm PT
Japan's top court says govt not responsible for Fukushima damage: media
An aerial view shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a strong earthquake, in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan in this photo taken on March 17, 2022. Photo by Kyodo News via Reuters
Japan's government is not liable for damages demanded by people whose lives were devastated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the country's top court said on Friday, according to Japanese media, the first such ruling in a series of similar cases.

A massive tsunami set off by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan's northeastern coast on March 11, 2011 struck Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco)'s Fukushima Daiichi power plant to cause the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Plaintiffs had demanded 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 damages of 1.4 billion yen to about 3,700 people.

About 470,000 people were forced to evacuate in the first days after the disaster, and tens of thousands remain unable to return even now.

Lower courts had split 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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