Japan’s top court says government not responsible for Fukushima damage

The impact of the ruling, for example, will be closely monitored, the media said.

On March 11, 2011, a massive tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Tokyo Electric Power’s (Tepco) Fukushima Daiichi power plant off the northeast coast of Japan, causing worst nuclear disaster Since Chernobyl and forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes.

The plaintiffs sought damages from both Tepco and the country in several class-action lawsuits, and in March the Supreme Court upheld an order to pay 1.4 billion yen in damages to Tepco’s nearly 3,700 people.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno declined direct comment when asked about the ruling at a news conference, although he said he was aware of it.

“Regardless of the decision, we will remain close to those affected by the disaster and will continue to do our best to rebuild and revive Fukushima,” he said.

About 470,000 people were forced to evacuate in the first days after the disaster, and tens of thousands are still unable to return.

Lower courts were divided on the extent of the government’s responsibility in predicting the disaster and ordering Tepco to take steps to prevent it.