Thousands of Tochigi residents seek redress over Fukushima nuclear disaster via The Asahi Shimbun

More than 7,000 residents of northern Tochigi Prefecture sought government mediation for an out-of-court settlement with the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in their quest for 1.85 billion yen ($14.99 million) in compensation.

It is the first collective appeal by residents of areas that are not eligible for compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The 7,128 claimants are from the cities of Nasu-Shiobara, Otawara and the town of Nasu. They say they experienced the same level of damages as residents of Fukushima Prefecture since the disaster unfurled in March 2011.

The appeal was filed with the government’s nuclear damage compensation dispute resolution center, an alternative mechanism for deciding compensation levels for victims of the nuclear disaster.

In demanding compensation equivalent to the amount awarded for voluntary evacuees in Fukushima, the residents argue that the accident has caused them mental suffering and financial loss because they have had to pay for extra food and other living expenses.

The group is the largest to collectively seek meditation through the alternative resolution mechanism since 15,000 or so residents from the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, filed an appeal, lawyers representing the Tochigi residents said.

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