TOKYO, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – A Fukushima district court ordered the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, TEPCO, to pay $470,000 in compensation over the suicide of a nuclear disaster evacuee, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
The lawsuit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was filed by the husband and three other relatives of Hamako Watanabe, a woman who killed herself after being forced to leave her home following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
According to her relatives, Hamako Watanabe fell into severe depression after the catastrophe. She doused herself in kerosene and set herself on fire in July 2011. The compensation initially requested by the victim’s family was about $870,000.
TEPCO representatives agreed that the disaster and evacuation have had a negative effect on mental and psychological health of the Fukushima citizens but pointed out that the suicide victim was taking sleeping pills before the catastrophe.
The Fukushima disaster of March 2011 is referred to as the second-biggest nuclear accident after Chernobyl. It has forced some 140,000 people to evacuate, with most of them still unable to return home. A full recovery from the disaster is expected to take 40 years.