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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 February 24 - March 1  > Ex-TEPCO executives indicted for Fukushima nuclear meltdown
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2016 February 24 - March 1 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Ex-TEPCO executives indicted for Fukushima nuclear meltdown

March 1, 2016
Former Tokyo Electric Power Company chairman Katsumata Tsunehisa,75, and two other former executives were indicted on February 29 for failing to implement measures to prevent the 2011 tsunami-induced nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The other two are ex-TEPCO vice presidents Muto Sakae, 65, and Takekuro Ichiro, 69, both of whom served as chief in charge of nuclear power generation.

The three former TEPCO executives were previously investigated by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office for their responsibility after the Fukushima accident but not prosecuted. Questioning this decision, a complaint was filed with a citizens’ inquest panel.

As a result of the inquest, the 11-member Tokyo No.5 committee for Inquest of Prosecution in 2015 overturned the prosecutors’ decision not to indict the three. In accordance with this judgement, court-appointed lawyers in place of the state prosecutors brought indictments against the three.

The indictment document points out that Katsumata and the two vice presidents at that time could foresee the possibility that if the Fukushima NPP was hit by a tsunami of more than 10 meters, it would cause an accident due to a loss of its major functions such as the emergency power generation system. The document goes on to state that their negligence in emergency preparedness consequently led to a severe nuclear accident, injuring 13 workers at the plant and killing 44 nearby hospital patients during the evacuation.

Muto Ruiko, who heads a plaintiffs’ group in a Fukushima disaster lawsuit, in her comment said, “The indictment will encourage hundreds of thousands of Fukushima accident victims who are struggling with hardships and griefs. I believe new facts regarding the accident will come out in court, and justice will be carried out in a fair manner on the three.”

It is reported that the trial will begin next year as its preparations take time.

Past related articles:
> Ex-TEPCO executives will be indicted for 2011 Fukushima disaster [August 1, 2015]
> Citizens’ panel: ex-TEPCO executives should be indicted for Fukushima disaster [August 1, 2014]
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