LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Oct 10, 4:30 AM EDT

Japan court: Govt, utility accountable in Fukushima accident


AP Photo
AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

Multimedia
Archery on horseback still draws crowd
Ainu Rebels reclaim cultural pride
Japanese defend whaling tradition
Japan deals with 'Minimata Disease'
Latest News
Japanese military helicopter loses contact off central Japan

Freighter sinks off Philippine coast; 10 crew missing

Myanmar envoy denies genocide against Rohingya Muslims

Navy relieves of duties top officers of wrecked US warship

Japan's leader pledges stability as election campaign begins

Interactives
Nuclear plants that have leaked tritium
Not enough money to close old nuclear plants
How a nuclear power plant works
Latest News
Russia pressures Serbia on status of controversial base

Russia: Formal complaint made over gay crackdown in Chechnya

North Korea lawmaker: Need nukes because of US threat

Poland expels Russian historian suspected of hostile actions

Iran's speaker: Spiking nuclear deal would be insult to UN

TOKYO (AP) -- A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered the government and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant to pay 500 million yen ($4.5 million) to thousands of former area residents who were demanding compensation for their livelihoods lost in the 2011 nuclear crisis.

The Fukushima District Court said the government had failed to order Tokyo Electric Power Co. to improve safety measures despite knowing as early as 2002 of a risk of a massive tsunami in the region.

The 3,800 plaintiffs, who sued in 2015, form the largest group among about 30 similar lawsuits involving 12,000 people pending across Japan.

It was the second verdict that held the government accountable in the Fukushima meltdowns.

The court upheld the plaintiffs' argument that the disaster could have been prevented if the economy and industry ministry had ordered TEPCO to move emergency diesel generators from the basement to higher ground and make the reactor buildings water-tight based on 2002 data that suggested there was a risk of a tsunami as high as 15.7 meters (51 feet).

The plaintiffs also had argued 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 tsunami that swept into the plant on March 11, 2011, knocked out the reactors' cooling system and destroyed the backup generators that could have kept it running and kept the nuclear fuel stable.

The government and the utility have argued that a tsunami as high as what occurred could not have been anticipated and that the accident was unavoidable.

Tuesday's ruling, however, dismissed the plaintiffs' demand that radiation levels in their former neighborhoods be reduced to pre-disaster levels.

The ruling followed a decision in March by the Maebashi District Court, which ordered the government and TEPCO to pay damages ranging from 70,000 yen ($620) to 3.5 million yen ($31,000) to 62 plaintiffs, or 38 million yen ($336,000) altogether, in addition to the compensation TEPCO had already paid them.

Last month, the Chiba District Court ordered TEPCO to pay a total of 376 million yen ($3.4 million) to most of the 45 plaintiffs who sought compensation over the loss of their livelihoods and communities because of radiation contamination. But the court dismissed the plaintiffs' claim that the government should also be held responsible for failing to enforce tsunami safety measures.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.