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The Supreme Court of Japan has ruled that the government is not to blame for the Fukushima disaster

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - The country's top court ruled on Friday that the government is not accountable for damages sought by ...


Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - The country's top court ruled on Friday that the government is not accountable for damages sought by people whose lives were ruined by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the first such judgement in a series of similar cases.

The impact of the verdict as a precedent will be keenly monitored, according to media reports.

On March 11, 2011, a large tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan's northeastern coast hit the Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) Fukushima Daiichi power facility, causing the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

In other class-action lawsuits, plaintiffs sought damages from both Tepco and the government, and the Supreme Court upheld an order in March ordering Tepco to pay 1.4 billion yen in damages to approximately 3,700 people.

When asked about the verdict at a press conference, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno declined to comment directly, but stated he was aware of it.

"Regardless of the verdict, we will remain connected to individuals affected by the disaster and continue to do everything we can to help Fukushima rebuild and revive," he said.

Approximately 470,000 people were forced to flee the area in the days following the accident, and tens of thousands are still unable to return.

Lower courts were split on the government's role in foreseeing the disaster and directing Tepco to take precautions to avoid it.

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