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Family of Fukushima woman who killed herself to sue TEPCO

FUKUSHIMA -- Two family members of a woman in her 80s who killed herself two years after the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis are planning to file a lawsuit with the Fukushima District Court against nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), demanding about 62 million yen in damages over her death, it has been learned.

    The family members will argue that the woman ended her own life because she was forced to evacuate from her home in the Fukushima Prefecture village of Iitate in the wake of the nuclear accident, sources close to the bereaved family say.

    According to a lawyer for the bereaved family, the woman and her family took shelter in a housing facility rented by the Fukushima Prefectural Government in April 2011 -- a month after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster -- because the central government designated the Iitate village as an evacuation zone. The woman tended to stay holed up in her home and developed what appeared to be symptoms of depression due to stress from living away from home, the lawyer said. When her husband died in August 2012, she sat in front of a family Buddhist altar and said things like "I want to go to where he (her deceased husband) is soon." On March 26, 2013, she hanged herself in her home.

    The woman's daughter said, "If she had not been forced to evacuate, she wouldn't have killed herself." Meanwhile, officials of TEPCO's public relations department declined to comment on the matter.

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