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TEPCO ordered to pay for ‘false rumors’ from Fukushima crisis via The Asahi Shimbun

A court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay compensation to a golf course operator for lost revenue caused by “false rumors” from the disaster at the utility’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Although TEPCO argued that the golf course in northern Tochigi Prefecture, 115 kilometers from the nuclear plant, was safe from radiation exposure, the Tokyo District Court on July 20 said TEPCO must still cover 19.6 million yen ($183,000) of the golf course operator’s losses in 2011.

“This is an epoch-making judgment that appropriately recognizes damages caused by false rumors,” said Kiyohisa Arai, the lawyer who represented the golf course operator.

The plaintiffs, who demanded 86.4 million yen in compensation, argued that the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant in March 2011 led to a prolonged decline in customers.

According to the ruling, sales at the golf course in March 2011 plummeted 62 percent compared with the figure for March 2010, and monthly revenues continued to decline year-on-year.

TEPCO argued that “the golf course was located far away from the power plant, and there were no concerns of being exposed to radiation there.”

Tochigi Prefecture lies south of Fukushima Prefecture, where the stricken nuclear plant is located.

However, the court ruled that rumors were enough to keep customers away from the golf course in the six months following the nuclear accident.

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