Fukushima Survivors Sue Japan Government, TEPCO

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Workers wait for transportation to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at J-Village near the plant in Fukushima prefecture, in this photo released by Kyodo March 1, 2013.
KYODO/Reuters/Corbis

Hundreds of survivors of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan filed a class action lawsuit Monday seeking restitution of the region that was contaminated by radioactive fallout.

Some 800 plaintiffs filed the case with the Fukushima District Court, demanding 50,000-yen ($520) a month from the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) until the area is restored, their lawyers said in a statement.

The plaintiffs are mostly from Fukushima, but also include some residents of neighboring prefectures, the lawyers said.

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"Through this case, we seek restitution of the region to the condition before radioactive materials contaminated the area, and demand compensation for psychological pains until the restitution is finished," the statement said.

The case was filed as Japan marked the second anniversary of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, which unleashed a giant tsunami along the northeastern Pacific coast.

The natural disasters killed nearly 19,000 people, including those whose bodies are yet to be recovered.

The huge waves crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which went through meltdown and explosions, spewing radioactive materials into surrounding areas.

The Fukushima accident forced tens of thousands of residents near the area to abandon their homes and jobs in heavily contaminated areas. It is not clear when they can return home, if ever.

"Through this case, we will clarify the responsibility of TEPCO, which caused the accident, and the government which neglected to take sufficient safety measures and promoted nuclear power with utilities as a national policy," the statement said.

"This case is not only aimed at saving victims, but also at pushing the government to thoroughly change its pro-nuclear policy and therefore prevent people becoming victims in the future," it said.

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