Photo/IllutrationHolding a portrait of Fumio Okubo, Mieko Okubo, his daughter-in-law, heads to the Fukushima District Court in Fukushima on Feb. 20. (Daiki Ishizuka)

FUKUSHIMA--A court here acknowledged that a 102-year-old man took his life rather than endure forced evacuation due to the 2011 nuclear disaster and ordered plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 15.2 million ($142,300) in damages to his family.

The Fukushima District Court said in its Feb. 20 ruling that the planned mandatory evacuation of Iitate was behind Fumio Okubo’s suicide, adding that the prospect of being forced from his home must have triggered "unbearable psychological strain."

According to the plaintiffs' legal team, the ruling was the third by a court recognizing a link between the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and the suicide of an individual affected by the disaster.

Okubo, a resident of Iitate, killed himself after watching TV news on the evening of April 11, 2011, a month after the accident unfolded. The program reported that the government would designate Iitate as a zone that should prepare to evacuate.

He was found dead in his room the following morning.

In the lawsuit, filed in July 2015, Mieko Okubo, his daughter-in-law, and two other plaintiffs contended that Okubo had no other reason to take his life except that the planned evacuation weighed heavily on him.

TEPCO maintained in court that Okubo suffered from health problems prior to the nuclear disaster and that the correlation between his death and the disaster was slim, even if it did indeed exist.

The plaintiffs had sought 60.5 million yen in compensation.