The 3,800 plaintiffs, most of whom were residents of Fukushima Prefecture, had sought a total of about 16 billion yen in compensation, arguing that the nuclear disaster deprived them of their daily lives in their hometowns.
This is the third ruling in some 30 similar lawsuits nationwide and the second one recognizing the government's responsibility for damages.
While plaintiffs in the two previous cases were evacuees, over 80 percent of those in the Fukushima court case did not flee their homes after the accident.
The Chiba District Court on September 22, however, held only TEPCO accountable for the disaster.
A Japanese court says the government and Tokyo Electric must compensate people in Fukushima for their suffering in the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster, saying officials should have been prepared for a potentially ruinous tsunami. He said the regulatory authority is determined to fulfill its duty to strictly examine reactor safety under the new standard based on the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.
The magnitude-9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, causing multiple meltdowns and hydrogen blasts at the nuclear power plant.
Both Tepco and the government argued that natural disaster predictions made by the government's own research unit were too vague and that they could not have taken appropriate measures to guard against the flooding that occurred.
As John Matthews reports for NPR's Newscast unit from Tokyo, the court decided that "the government and the utility failed to act on a 2002 report that predicted a 20 percent chance of a major quake triggering a tsunami in the following 30 years".
The ruling followed a decision in March by the Maebashi District Court, which ordered the government and TEPCO to split the 38 million yen ($336,000) compensation to 62 former Fukushima residents in addition to the compensation TEPCO had already paid them. Tepco also said in a statement, "We will study the content (of the ruling) and consider our response".
The court awarded the plaintiffs a total of close to 498 million yen and denied the request to force the company to lower the average radiation dosage.
The first casualty of North Korean nuclear tests?