|4,000 join to sue GE, Toshiba, Hitachi over nuke disaster
A class action lawsuit against nuclear suppliers General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi has ballooned to more than 4,000 claimants seeking damages over the Fukushima atomic disaster, the lead lawyer said.
The claimants from Japan and 32 other countries including the United States, Germany and South Korea, want the US and Japanese nuclear power plant suppliers to pay compensation, lawyer Akihiro Shima said in Tokyo.
The claim, seeking a largely symbolic 100 yen (US$1) per claimant, was described by Shima as the first lawsuit to be brought against nuclear power-plant suppliers over the 2011 accident.
Tokyo Electric Power is facing massive lawsuits and compensation costs.
“General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi failed to implement safety improvements to the four-decades old boiling water reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant,'' a statement alleged.
“The lawsuit is intended to bring attention to the system that protects the nuclear industry around the world,'' it added.
The lawsuit was first filed in Tokyo District Court in January with just over 1,000 claimants.
“It is not our policy to comment on pending legal actions,'' GE's Japanese unit said in a statement when contacted by AFP.
But it added that the plant, which GE helped design, ``has performed reliably for more than 40 years''.
It also cited a Japanese government report which “concluded that the accident was caused by the tsunami, and the resulting loss of seawater pumps and all electrical power, not reactor design.’’