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FILE PHOTO: An abandoned child's bicycle and houses destroyed by the tsunami are seen in Tomioka town, inside the exclusion zone of a 20km radius around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima prefecture, January 15, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo(reuters_tickers)
TOKYO (Reuters) - A district court in Fukushima prefecture on Tuesday ruled that Tokyo Electric Power <9501.T> and the Japanese government were liable for damages totalling about 500 million yen (£3.3 million) in the largest class action lawsuit brought over the 2011 nuclear disaster, Kyodo news agency said.
A group of about 3,800 people, mostly in Fukushima prefecture, filed the class action suit, marking the biggest number of plaintiffs out of about 30 similar class action lawsuits filed across the nation.
This is the second court ruling that fixed the government's responsibility after a Maebashi district court decision in March.
All the three district court decisions so far have ordered Tepco to pay damages. Only the Chiba court decision last month did not find the government liable for compensation.
The plaintiffs in Fukushima case have called on defendants for reinstating the levels of radioactivity at their homes before the disaster, but the court rejected the request, Kyodo said.
Tepco has long been criticised for ignoring the threat posed by natural disasters to the Fukushima plant and the company and the government were lambasted for their handling of the crisis.
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gopakumar Warrier)