In the fourth such ruling, a district court on March 16 ordered the central government in addition to Tokyo Electric Power Co. to compensate evacuees fleeing from the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The Tokyo District Court found the central government and TEPCO responsible for contributing to the psychological stress suffered by 42 evacuees and ordered the defendants to pay a total of about 60 million yen ($566,000) in compensation.

The lawsuit was filed by 47 individuals in 17 households who fled from Fukushima Prefecture to Tokyo in the wake of the nuclear disaster. Significantly, 46 of those individuals evacuated voluntarily from areas where any order was issued by the government.

The plaintiffs had sought a total of 650 million yen in compensation on the grounds that their normal daily lives were upended following the March 2011 accident, causing them psychological stress.

About 30 such lawsuits have been filed around Japan, and the March 16 ruling was the sixth decision so far by a district court. Four rulings have held the central government liable for the nuclear disaster and ordered it to pay compensation.