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Court orders TEPCO to pay Y49 mil over Fukushima evacuee's suicide

48 Comments
By Lisa Twaronite

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48 Comments
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bleed TEPCO to death

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"erbaviva", sure, but who will pay for all this? It's again the tax-payer's money. I would like to see that the people responsible for all this (in particular TEPCO's "big guys") will "bleed to death". Have them sell their houses, have them terminate their bank acounts, have them get rid of their stocks and bonds and use all that money!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Will TEPCO pay for all the future ailments and deaths that will likely result from this disaster? If so they likely will bleed to death!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“We will study the verdict and respond in a sincere way,” it added. “We pray that Hamako Watanabe has found peace.”

...and respond it by challenging this lower court verdict and ultimately we'll win in supreme court :(

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The secrecy due to privacy concerns just covers up the full extent of what's happening to these people. What was that quote...the government will do all it can to help those effected, great job! People burning themselves to death, all these deaths are due to incompetence and a complete lack of empathy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While I agree that TEPCO executive's need to be personally held accountable, TEPCO itself needs to fall as well. If the tax payers end up paying for this, that would be the FAULT of the GOVERNMENT!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wow!! Extreme way to take one's own life. Good that they are being compensated, sad that those who live on in shelters and similar are not being looked after properly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“We will study the verdict and respond in a sincere way,”

Translation: We will find a way to wriggle out of paying a single yen.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Knowing how the Japanese court system works, it's irresponsible to call this a "landmark decision" without naming which court ruled on this. Because "study the verdict" usually means appeal to the next highest court, where it will more than likely be overturned. That said, the inclusion of the details about the pressure on Watanabe to drop the suit is telling.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He will also receive compensation for the loss of his property which will be another 60 million yen plus. All the compensation payments will be paid by the taxpayer. There are more than 5 million claims against TEPCO but tens of thousands of the nuclear refugee's still haven't received any leaving them in a limbo world. can't go home, can't go forward!

The eventual cost of the nuclear disaster will be more than ¥50 trillion.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Given that TAePCO's primary concernisthereactivation of their Niigata plant and are turn to profits while they have barely scratched the surface on compensations an demand more bailouts while giin execs big bonuses, I'd say the guy won't see this money for years, if ever. TEPCO will see another bailout before long, though, and my guess is they'll fast track certain compensation packages to 'high risk' (ie. similar suits) victims withth condition they cannot sue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ruined so many lives for greed and stupidity, 49 mill yen is no where near enough for what these people and others like them have been through, it should be at least 10 times that amount and then some.

I hope and wish that the people in govt and tepco who were negligent and careless to let this disaster happen have trouble living with their conscience, but I doubt they even have one.

Let there be true justice for all affected and let there be true justice for all those who are responsible.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's again the tax-payer's money.

The electrical consumer, which is slightly different.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

while her suicide, and the many other suicides that have occured since 3.11, is tragic, suing tepco for compensation is the wrong approach. it's the taxpayers who will be paying for it in the end while the people really responsible (i.e. nuclear energy bureaucrats and tepco officials) will suffer little or not at all. they need to be held criminally negligent.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is about time TEPCO was made to be responsible . . ............................There are thousands of other evacuees who ought to file a class-action suit.................

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unfortunately, this is by no means settled and sets no precedent. The article completely fails to mention that this judgement came from the District Court in Fukushima, which is the lowest of courts in Japan who's decisions are very often quashed on appeal. The next stop is the High Court in Sendai if TEPCO appeal.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Unfortunately, private citizens are unable to hold others criminally negligent, so filing a civil suit is the only option they have to seek justice. I applaud this man for going forward when the pressure against him from others was powerful.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The article clearly mentions the ruling came from the Fukushima District Court.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nessie: The electrical consumer, which is slightly different.

No bailout by taxpayers?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wonder how this will effect the US Marines who are suing TEPCO

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi: He will also receive compensation for the loss of his property which will be another 60 million yen plus.

Y49M for wife, Y60M for house?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I wonder how this will effect the US Marines who are suing TEPCO

Probably not at all, since the US Marines are trying (and so far failing) to sue TEPCO in US courts rather than in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i hope there is an avalanche of lawsuits to come. TEPCO is deeply corrupt corporation that has and is still profiting off the misfortune of others. they deserve to drown in a sea of bankruptcy!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

suing tepco for compensation is the wrong approach. it's the taxpayers who will be paying for it in the end while the people really responsible (i.e. nuclear energy bureaucrats and tepco officials) will suffer little or not at all. they need to be held criminally negligent.

The people suing for compensation deserve the compensation. Where the money comes from is irrelevant to whether or not these people deserve said compensation. If the money comes from the taxpayers, then the taxpayers should be calling for the heads of Tepco's heads. Trying to say that the people who deserve compensation shouldn't sue the company from whom they deserve compensation is just ignorant. They shouldn't have to forgo compensation just because of the source of the money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“We would like to deeply apologise again for the disruption and concern that the Fukushima Daiichi accident caused to many people, first and foremost the people of Fukushima,” TEPCO said in a statement following the verdict.

I've had TEPCO apologies up to my eyeballs! The meltdown was a direct result of mismanagement and laxed safety procedures. It has been verified and the TEPCO admin have admitted to it, but not one if them has bee brought up on any criminal charges what-so-ever! It's absolutely disgusting! Steal a bicycle and you get a fine and a criminal record, but cause a triple nuclear meltdown that resulted in displacing 200,000 people, sprayed half the country with radiation and has caused many deaths from hardship and suicide and you get to make a public apology? There isn't enough money in Japan to fully compensate the amount of people effected by this man-made disaster.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

His oldest son left his job after co-workers harassed him, accusing him of using his mother’s death for personal gain.

I have often pointed out Japanese can be damned COLD to their own, the above is a perfect example! Bullying in this country is off the friggin charts!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What sickens me is that his son was harassed by his co-workers to a point where he had to quit his job. These victims are definitely losing support by the day which don't help them going into depression.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Time to say something unpopular again: This ill thought out judgment is ridiculous and has to go.

The culpability of TEPCO may be analogized thus - some moron decided to set up a factory right next to your residence. It emits a certain amount of noise and chemical pollution which has a minor deleterious effect on your life expectancy. You move and kill yourself over it. How much money does your death deserve?

Further, Tepco's culpability is reduced because what happened was an accident. Even if one argues they did not exercise due diligence (and do remember Japan was overall quite satisfied with their diligence level until the post-accident Monday morning quarterbacking), that cannot be considered equivalent to our hypothetical factory which would emit even in its normal operation.

If anything, what killed the woman is the Government's decision to evacuate to avoid a minor decrease in life expectancy which was almost certainly outweighed by the loss caused by the need to move!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki

The culpability of TEPCO may be analogized thus - some moron decided to set up a factory right next to your residence. It emits a certain amount of noise and chemical pollution which has a minor deleterious effect on your life expectancy. You move and kill yourself over it. How much money does your death deserve?

Except when TEPCO built the Fukushima NPP just like every community with a NPP, TEPCO, the government and the whole of the nuclear village assured those people living in the communities that the atomic plants they would build would be safe and the local communities had nothing to fear and even paid bribe money to ensure the atomic plants could be built?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Definitely, it’s a decent step forward.

I keep wondering when true Justice will be handed to the people who lost their homes and lifehoods because of TEPCO , a J-govt protected company which has committed horrendous crimes, yet walked away free.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

US Marines are trying (and so far failing) to sue TEPCO in US courts

If they succed it, it will diffinitely affect Japanese sentiment toward Americans, which is already deteriorating since US shrine criticism.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

I see your point, but your analogy doesn't take into account that a permanent evacuation order is a very real and forseeable outcome of negligently operating a nuclear plant but not your average factory.

From a legal standpoint, TEPCO is required to compensate victims 'forseeable harm'. It is foreseeable that releasing radiation would cause a mandatory evacuation in the area. It is also foreseeable that if people are displaced, it will cause some psychological harm. The fact that this particular victim was unusually ill equipped to deal with that psychological harm that she killed herself does not excuse TEPCO. When you injure someone, you take responsibility for your victims as you find them. (ie. If you negligently cut someone and they bleed to death only because they are a hemophiliac, you will be responsible for the death not just the initial cut. Your victim is your actual victim, not a composite of the average person)

From what I have read, TEPCO admits to causing psychological harm to the victim but they were trying to cast doubt on the connection between that and the suicide by saying that other factors such as medications she was taking may have also caused or contributed to the suicide.

Obviously it's a controversial case. The written judgement hasn't been released yet, so we don't exactly what the rationale of the court's decision was.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mirai :

TEPCO is deeply corrupt corporation that has and is still profiting off the misfortune of others. they deserve to drown in a sea of bankruptcy!

You got it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meanwhile TEPCO get more public money,

Today, we have received 17.5 billion yen from the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (hereafter NDF) based on the revised Special Business Plan (New Comprehensive Special Business Plan) approved on August 8, 2014. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2014/1240945_5892.html

As of today, the amount paid out to evacuees for personal and property compensation stands at ¥4.2 trillion. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/comp/images/jisseki-e.pdf

4 ( +4 / -0 )

they deserve to drown in a sea of bankruptcy!

Somebody must take care of the plants now, so we cannot afford their bankruptcy.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Watanabe has broken off contact with relatives who urged him to drop his suit. His oldest son left his job after co-workers harassed him, accusing him of using his mother’s death for personal gain.

IMO this is the saddest part of this horrible story. The fact that a sigificant portion of Japanese society values the "security" of Japan Inc. over the value of a human life is just tragic. And points to how the values of that society, especially as set by the government and the courts, are completely out of wack.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The civil suit, filed at the Fukushima District Court by Mikio Watanabe, claimed that TEPCO was to blame for the July 2011 death of his wife, Hamako, 58, who doused herself in kerosene and set herself on fire after falling into depression.

She left no suicide note, but Mikio, 64, said TEPCO was directly responsible.

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This is civil suit. So, this is not the end. TEPCO probably will sue to upper court. The family did not sue J Govt. Thus no taxpayers' money.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The family did not sue J Govt. Thus no taxpayers' money.

Toshiko -- where have you been? TEPCO is being bailed out by massive government loans and subsidies:

The court decision is the latest blow for the utility, which was bailed out with taxpayer funds in 2012 and expects to spend nearly 5 trillion yen in compensation alone for the nuclear disaster

Besides, whether its taxpayers money, or money collected by TEPCO from users, it all comes out of the same place -- the pockets of the J-public.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@jerseyboy: Govt bailout and failure of civili lawsuit differ. TEPCO has to pay this money from its profit. It is on shareholders' agenda meeting now TEPCO was very profittable on last two quarters. .

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

US Marines are trying (and so far failing) to sue TEPCO in US courts

If they succed it, it will diffinitely affect Japanese sentiment toward Americans, which is already deteriorating since US shrine criticism.

It will only affect the sentiment of the right-wingers. Which we all know are a worthless group of individuals not worth acknowledging. The rest of the Japanese have great sympathy for the people who have lost their homes, and little to no sympathy for TEPCO.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Because TEPCO doused her with kerosene and set her on fire, right?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I support the idea of paying for tangible property loss or compensation for loss business or jobs.

But I dont support compensating for suicide because this will promote more suicide and encourage ppl to give up.

I dont support this even more when the money used to pay the enormous amount is through the taxpayers money.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@jerseyboy: Govt bailout and failure of civili lawsuit differ. TEPCO has to pay this money from its profit. It is on shareholders' agenda meeting now TEPCO was very profittable on last two quarters. .

toshiko -- your understanding of TEPCO's finances is fatally flawed, or you are just trying to play semantic games. True, TECO did make a profit, but only because the taxpayers bailed them out to the tune of $13 Billion in the spring of 2012. And additional funds have been allocated since then. Otherwise, they would be bankrupt. And, as a result of the bailout, the taxpayers, in the form of the J-government, owns 50% of the company -- it was effectively nationalized. So please do not pretend this money is coming from the "shareholders", because the taxpayers are the shareholders.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Does anyone know the Law firm that represented him ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On 11 April 2012 TEPCO announced that Tokyo had temporarily become the largest shareholder of the firm with 9.37 percent voting rights, after former largest share holders Dai-ichi Life Nippon Life Insurance Co. and Nippon Life Insurance Co. had sold their 3.42 and 3.29 percent stakes in the company. The two life insurance companies had lost their interest in TEPCO after the shares had lost almost all their value at the stock market. At the next shareholders meeting of TEPCO in June 2012, Tokyo hoped to put a halt to TEPCO's plans raising the price of electricity. This position was changed by later ownership changes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

toshiko, sorry but hear are the factc:

Tepco, Japan’s largest utility, is under huge financial pressure and is fighting to survive. The company is majority owned by the Japanese government after receiving a previous bailout. If the company goes under it could have ripple effects across Japan’s fragile economy.

And:

Ownership of the preferred shares give the state-owned compensation fund 50.11 percent voting rights, as announced earlier, spokesman Masateru Araki said today by phone

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@]jerseyboy: Thank you for info. Mine is last years; info of srock holders. Have to check new one very soon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While I agree that the victims should be getting paid compensation, I don't see how they can throw the blame for this woman committing suicide on TEPCO. Plenty of other victims have managed to not kill themselves over this ordeal. Suicide is a voluntary act and nobody is responsible for it other than the woman herself. I feel sorry that she felt that suicide was her only option, but there are plenty of other paths she could have taken. If this turns out to be a "landmark" case, what is going to stop other people from committing suicide and blaming it on TEPCO so their families can get more money. If they can establish TEPCO as being responsible for this woman's suicide, what about companies and schools? When you commit suicide, you make that decision yourself. Nobody is forcing you to do it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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