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Court orders TEPCO to pay 31 million yen over deaths of Fukushima patients

The Tokyo District Court on April 27 ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay a total of around 31 million yen to the families of two former patients at a local hospital who died following the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The families of the two elderly men had demanded the operator of the crippled nuclear plant pay a total of about 66 million yen, claiming that they died after being forced to evacuate from Futaba Hospital located approximately 4.6 kilometers from the power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Okuma.

Of some 50 patients at Futaba Hospital who died following the nuclear disaster, the families of a then 98-year-old dementia patient and a then 73-year-old schizophrenia patient filed the lawsuit. While there have been two cases of settlement between the families of former Futaba Hospital patients and TEPCO at Chiba and Fukushima district courts, this is the first court ruling to have been delivered over deaths of patients at the hospital.

TEPCO had acknowledged the causal relationship between evacuation and the deaths of the two patients. The trial, therefore, had focused on the amount of damages.

According to the ruling, the conditions of the two patients had been severe and they required assistance with eating and other daily tasks. An evacuation order was issued on March 12, 2011, the following day of the disaster, and the patients left the hospital on March 14 and 16, respectively. However, unable to receive appropriate medical care, the pair died of dehydration and hypothermia.

The court determined the amount of damages at 20 million yen for each patient and judged that their existing conditions had affected the development of additional illnesses. It then reduced the amount demanded by the families by 40 percent for the dementia patient and by 20 percent for the schizophrenia patient.

An attorney representing the plaintiffs said it was unfortunate that circumstances particular to a nuclear plant disaster was not taken into consideration in the ruling.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. released a comment stating that the utility will go through the ruling and sincerely handle the situation.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160428/p2a/00m/0na/010000c

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April 30, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , ,

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