TOKYO, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) to pay damages to 23 people who were forced to evacuate from their hometowns due to the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Matsuyama District Court handed down the ruling on Tuesday and awarded damages to 23 of the 25 plaintiffs who had evacuated from Fukushima to Ehime Prefecture in the wake of the nuclear crisis.
The plaintiffs had been seeking compensation amounting to a combined 137.5 million yen (1.24 million U.S. dollars) in damages.
The court, however, ordered the government and TEPCO to pay combined damages of just 27 million yen (244,750 U.S. dollars).
The plaintiffs said that the compensation amount was far from sufficient, considering the nuclear disaster had led to them loosing their homes, livelihoods and severed connections between families, friends and communities.
They had also claimed that the nuclear crisis had, along with financial losses, also caused a great deal of psychological suffering.
Presiding Judge Judge Keiko Kuboi said Tuesday that the state and the utility could have predicted the impact of a massive earthquake-triggered tsunami on the nuclear plant, if orders from the now-defunct nuclear safety agency, made in 2002, were followed.
The judge said TEPCO could have taken preventative flooding and other measures based on the possibility of a more-than-10-meter-high tsunami hitting the plant.
The court's ruling was the 10th among 30 similar suits filed across Japan against both the government and TEPCO.
Among similar cases already adjudicated, TEPCO was ordered to pay damages to plaintiffs in nine of them.
The government along with TEPCO have been found liable in five of the similar cases.