TOKYO, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday ordered the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay damages to residents ordered to evacuate in the wake of the nuclear meltdowns in March 2011 at the still troubled plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), operator of the plant crippled by an earthquake-triggered tsunami seven years ago, was ordered by the court to pay 1.1 billion yen (10.08 million U.S. dollars) to plaintiffs claiming they had suffered psychological damage.
The 321 plaintiffs, however, had sought 11 billion yen (100.87 million U.S. dollars) in combined compensation from the beleaguered utility, claiming a loss of livelihoods as a result of the evacuation which had caused psychological damage.
The plaintiffs were residing in the Odaka district of the city of Minamisoma, 20 km from the Daiichi plant, when the mandatory evacuation order was issued following the plant's key cooling systems being knocked out by the tsunami and subsequent hydrogen explosions releasing radioactive materials into the air.
Under government guidelines, TEPCO said it would pay each resident of Odaka 8.5 million yen (78,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation, but the plaintiffs claimed the amount was woefully insufficient in light of the hardships they have had to endure.
The plaintiffs had sought 32 million yen (293,440 U.S. dollars) per person in addition to TEPCO's state-guided compensation offer.
TEPCO, still grappling with storing and decontaminating massive amounts of irradiated water at the battered complex, did not immediately accept the ruling of the court, saying it would review the decision before paying out.
According to Minamisoma municipal officials, prior to the disaster nearly 13,000 people were residing in Okada. The number dropped drastically to just 2,400 as of December 2017.
The evacuation order for the district was partially lifted in July 2016.