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TEPCO ordered to pay 1.1 bil. yen in damages to Fukushima residents

In this July 27, 2017 file photo, contaminated water storage tanks are seen on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant grounds, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A court on Wednesday ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay 1.1 billion yen ($10.1 mil) in damages to Fukushima residents over nuclear meltdowns triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

    The Tokyo District Court ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay the combined sum to 321 plaintiffs who had sought 11 billion yen in compensation, claiming they had suffered psychological damage from losing their livelihoods in the Odaka district of the city of Minamisoma.

    Residents of the district, located within 20 kilometers of the power plant, were ordered to evacuate after the nuclear disaster until the order was partially lifted in July 2016.

    While around 12,800 people lived in the district before the disaster, the population had dropped to about 2,400 as of December 2017, according to the city.

    TEPCO said it will carefully review the ruling before deciding whether to accept it.

    The company has already announced it will pay 8.5 million yen to each resident in the district under the state's guidelines.

    But the plaintiffs in the latest suit said the amount was insufficient and sought an additional 32 million yen per person.

    The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, resulting in a blackout at the plant and a consequent loss of reactor cooling functions. The plant suffered multiple meltdowns and hydrogen explosions.

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