(TEPCO), which ran the Fukushima plant, to pay $4.5 million to 3,800 plaintiffs after it said the company failed to make safety improvements, even though leaders there knew the risk a massive tsunami would pose to the plant.
Closely monitored as a measure of government responsibility, yesterday's ruling was the second verdict that held the Japanese government accountable in the Fukushima meltdowns, increasing hopes for other pending cases.
In March 2017, the court in Maebashi-Shi, also called the Japanese authorities and Tepco are guilty in the accident, but during the second process, the state was acquitted.
The meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, which is on the eastern coast of Japan, occurred when 32-foot waves overpowered the plant's protective sea walls, flooding buildings and destroying diesel-powered electricity generators that were created to keep critical systems functioning in a blackout.
The government and Tepco, for their part, claimed the assessment was not established knowledge, and that the tsunami could not have been foreseen.
In its defense, the government said that before the meltdowns, it did not have the power to force Tepco to take protective anti-flooding measures and was only authorized to do so by legislation passed after the accident. They sought a monthly compensation of ¥50,000 until the radiation levels return to pre-crisis level of 0.04 microsieverts per hour.
The 2011 tsunami damaged the cooling system for the nuclear reactor and flooded backup generators that could have kept the plant functional after it was hit by a massive wave that followed an natural disaster. Around 55,000 evacuees were still scattered inside and outside of Fukushima Prefecture as of the end of August. The agency adds, "More than 12,000 people across Japan have filed class action lawsuits over the accident with courts in 18 prefectures".