Supreme Court acquits Japanese state for Fukushima disaster
There are 30 class actions related to the Fukushima disaster
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The state bears no responsibility for the Fukushima disaster of 11 March 2011. This was established today by the Supreme Court of Japan in its ruling on 4 of the approximately 30 class actions still pending. A decision that completes the one arrived in March on the same cases, in which the court had instead sentenced the company that manages the nuclear plants of Dai-Chi, the Tepco, to compensate 3,700 inhabitants with 1.4 billion yen (just under 10 million euros).
The ruling is a watershed in the legal aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Even if it refers only to the cases submitted by the applicants in the prefectures of Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba and Ehime, it will affect the open class actions. So far, in fact, all the courts of lower-level where these processes have been carried out have given contradictory answers. Also in these 4 cases: the state was found guilty in 3 but acquitted with regard to Gunma.
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At the heart of all these processes is whether the Tokyo government and Tepco could have predicted a tsunami of the magnitude of what hit the Dai-Chi plant and triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and whether or not they took all possible precautions as a result. Class actions point out that an official 2002 valuation, produced by a government unit, assigned a 20% probability that a Level 8 tsunami would occur off Japan within 30 years. Based on this study, Tepco estimated in 2008 that a wave up to 15.7 meters high would hit the nuclear power plant.
So far, at first instance, there have been 23 out of the total of 30 judgments. In 12 cases, the courts found both the government and the company guilty of preparing for a tsunami similar to the one that hit Fukushima. In the other 11 cases, the courts only ordered Tepco to pay the damages.