Brainheart Law Firm Fileswins Monetary Damages on behalf of Namie-TownResidents
Chairman Kanoya (right) talks about his thoughts on agreeing to the settlement. Attorney Kanno on the left
In the court case between the Association of Bereaved Families of Namie Town vs. TEPCO (the owner-operator of the Fukushima Nuclear plant), the legal team representing the 374 plaintiffs has effectively employed the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to triumph in the case for the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs were demanding compensation from TEPCO for the delay in searching for and locating the victims of the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake due to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On March 23, 374 bereaved family members and TEPCO agreed to a settlement proposal proposed by the Nuclear Damage Dispute Resolution Center. Both parties will formalize the process with the signing of a settlement agreement.
The plaintiffs and defendants reached the settlement agreement for the 173 people who died due to the tsunami in Namie Town. At the fourth oral hearing held in Tokyo on March 23, the bereaved families and TEPCO agreed on a statement of reasons for TEPCOs malfeasance and monetary damages for the settlement. In addition, an apology from TEPCO, which the bereaved families had strongly demanded, was included in the settlement.
According to Harutaka Kanno, a lawyer representing The Association of Bereaved Families, TEPCO will pay between 600,000 and 200,000 yen per bereaved family member per victim, depending on the blood relationship with the victim. The breakdown is as follows: 600,000 yen for first-degree relatives such as parents and children and their spouses 400,000 yen for second-degree relatives such as grandchildren living together 200,000 yen for relatives living together with other than the first or second degree of kinship The agreement set the maximum payment at 3 million yen per family. However, the bereaved families had initially requested a flat amount of 11 million yen per person.
Morihisa Kanouya, 73, chairman of the Association of Bereaved Families, said, “We don’t know whether TEPCO is sincerely apologizing for their errors or not. The amount of compensation is far from what we were seeking, but we felt there was a limit upon to where we could agree. We want to work for the world so that such a tragedy will never happen again.”