According to The Mainichi daily, over 50 branches of Japan's district courts are currently considering lawsuits from 12,539 people.
Over 99 percent of the claimants used to live in the prefecture of Fukushima and were forced to evacuate after the incident at the Fukushima-1 plant. TEPCO's monthly payments to those who have been evacuated stand at around $1,000, however, the claimants consider that this amount does not cover their losses.
In March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a 46-foot tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude offshore earthquake.
The tsunami caused three of the plant's six reactors to melt down and radioactive materials leaked into the sea and air. Some 140,000 people were evacuated from settlements near the plant, many of whom have been unable to return to their homes due to high levels of radiation. Officials say 40 years will be necessary to return the area to normal radioactivity, a figure highly disputed.