Shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power are suing the company’s bosses over their role in the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In the biggest claim of its kind in Japan, they are asking for the equivalent of 51 billion euros in compensation.
In the law suit, 27 current and former Tepco directors are accused of failing to prepare for a severe accident and ignoring multiple warnings of a possible tsunami.
The 42 shareholders want the executives to pay damages to Tepco, which would then use the money to compensate those affected by the disaster.
Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the shareholders said: “By seeking to hold individuals responsible, we want to correct the collective and systemic irresponsibility in the nuclear industry.”
There is deep public anger over Tepco’s handling of the crisis and the perceived arrogance of top management, including underplaying the seriousness of the disaster in its early stages and delays in compensating those forced to leave their homes.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami last March, triggering the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a quarter of a century.
The disaster swamped the firm with huge clean-up, compensation and decommissioning costs.