[JURIST] The Fukuoka High Court [backgrounder] on Wednesday rejected an appeal filed by citizens of Japan seeking to stop the operation of the only two remaining nuclear reactors in the country. The suit was originally raised by 12 residents [Japan News report] in the Kagoshima District Court in April 2015. Wednesday’s decision upholds the ruling from last year. The No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant were restarted in August and October 2015 [IB Times report]. The Fukuoka High Court emphasized that reactors at the Sendai plant adhere to more stringent safety measures that were enacted following the Fukushima No. 1 disaster in 2011. The reactors in question are the first to be restarted following the adoption of new safety standards by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. In rejecting the challenge, president judge Tomoichiro Nishikawa stated there is “no concrete risk that the plaintiffs and others would suffer serious damage.” The plaintiffs may be able to seek appellate review with the Japanese supreme court.
Japan’s court system [JURIST report] and legislature has faced a number of legal issues related to the Fukushima disaster that occurred five years ago. Earlier in 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 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 (TEPCO) [official website] 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 to create a fund for victims of the disaster [JURIST report].