A group of shareholders in the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) [corporate website] on Monday filed a USD $67 billion lawsuit against TEPCO officials for failing to prevent the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant [IAEA backgrounder]. The group of 42 shareholders have accused [Kyodo News report] 27 current and former TEPCO directors of ignoring warning signs and failing to take appropriate measure to mitigate damages in the event of an earthquake and ensuing tsunami. The shareholders want the damages paid to TEPCO, which would then use the money to compensate victims [Reuters report]. This is likely the civil lawsuit ever filed in Japan.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011 is considered one of the biggest man-made environmental disasters of all time and the largest nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. Following the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, three Fukushima reactors experienced full meltdowns, while the other three malfunctioned in various other ways. Due to the tsunami, flood waters swept in and out of the building, becoming irradiated and affecting the surrounding area. Japan has been criticized for its handling of the crisis, and international reception to nuclear energy has fallen sharply since the incident. In a Forum op-ed, Fukushima Illustrates Need for Nuclear Policy [JURIST op-ed], Tamar Cerafici of the Cerafici Law Firm discussed how the Fukushima disaster should guide US policy. In August Japanese lawmakers voted to create a fund to compensate victims [JURIST report].