SENDAI–A district court here ordered the city government to retract its earlier decision not to pay special condolence money to the family of an 85-year-old woman who died after the 2011 earthquake disaster.
In its Dec. 9 ruling, the Sendai District Court acknowledged that the woman’s death was linked to the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the Tohoku region.
“(The woman) was unable to swallow after her living conditions worsened because of the disaster,” Presiding Judge Kenji Takamiya said. “As a result, she developed pneumonia and died.”
It is the first court ruling related to the disaster in which a local government has been ordered to rescind its decision to refuse a special payment for the death of a victim by denying the correlation, according to lawyers representing the plaintiff.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake on March 11 destroyed the home she lived in with her partner. The woman’s health deteriorated in April that year when she was admitted to a special nursing-care home. She died in August after developing pneumonia twice, and other illnesses.
Medical records submitted to the court showed that she had difficulty swallowing food by April.
The case against the Sendai municipal government was filed by Hayao Abiko, 72, the deceased’s common-law husband.