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Japan court finds government and TEPCO liable for Fukushima nuclear disaster

[JURIST] The Maebashi District Court [official website, in Japanese] ruled that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) [official website] are liable for professional negligence in their security maintenance at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The two parties have been ordered to pay [BBC report] a total of USD $341,000 to 62 out of 137 evacuees who sought damages for emotional distress. The court concluded [AP report] that in order to ensure safety at the plant, the plant's generators should have been moved to a higher floor. The suit, which was filed in 2013, is one of 30 similar suits still pending in the Japanese court system.

Japan's court system [JURIST report] and legislature have dealt with a number of legal issues related to the Fukushima disaster that occurred six years ago. Last March the Otsu District Court in Japan ordered an injunction halting the operation of two nuclear reactors [JURIST report], days before the fifth anniversary of the Fukuishima nuclear disaster. In February of last year court-appointed prosecutors charged three former utility executives [JURIST report] with counts of negligence in relation to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. In August 2012 Japanese authorities opened a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the power plant meltdown after more than 1,300 people filed [JURIST report] a criminal complaint against Tokyo Electric Power Company for causing the catastrophe and the resulting radiation. The complaint came two months after an expert panel reported that the disaster was preventable [JURIST report]. In March 2012 a group of TEPCO shareholders filed a USD $67 billion lawsuit [JURIST report] against the company for failing to prevent the disaster. In August 2011 five months after the meltdown, Japan's legislature voted [JURIST report] to create a fund for victims of the disaster.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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