Skip to content


Japan prosecutors set to rule on possible Fukushima indictments via Reuters

(Reuters) – Japanese prosecutors must decide this week whether to charge Tokyo Electric Power Co executives for their handling of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, in a process that could drag the operator of the stricken nuclear plant into criminal court.

The judicial review is unlikely to see Tepco executives go to jail, legal experts say, but rehashing details of the meltdowns and explosions that followed an earthquake and tsunami will cast a harsh light on the struggling utility and will not help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unpopular effort to restart Japan’s nuclear reactors.

The Tokyo’s District Prosecutors Office last year declined to charge more than 30 Tepco and government officials after investigating a criminal complaint from residents, who said officials ignored the risks to the Fukushima Daiichi plant from natural disasters and failed to respond appropriately when crisis struck.

But a special citizens’ panel opened another legal front in July, asking prosecutors to consider charges of criminal negligence against three executives over their handling of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Under the review system, the prosecutors must respond by Thursday.

If they again decline to take up the case, as some experts expect, the 11-member panel of unidentified citizens can order prosecutors to indict, if eight members vote in favor.

[…]

Nationwide, a majority of people has consistently opposed restarting nuclear power, according to opinion polls since the disaster.

The citizens’ panel said Tsunehisa Katsumata, Tepco chairman at the time of the disaster, and former executive vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro failed to take protect the Fukushima plant despite warnings it faced big tsunamis.

The prosecutors are unlikely to change their minds, said Shin Ushijima, an attorney and former public prosecutor.

“Prosecutors exhaust all means in their investigations and certainly would have in a special case like this, so if they were convinced they could not prosecute Katsumata and the others earlier, they will not reach a decision to indict now,” he said.

“There is a 50 percent chance that some or all of the three ex-Tepco executives will be indicted and 99.9 percent chance those indicted will be found not guilty,” Ushijima said.

“How can you prove one person, Katsumata for example, is liable or guilty, when such a big organization was behind such a large accident?”

Read more at Japan prosecutors set to rule on possible Fukushima indictments

 

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , , .


One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says

    It is highly disturbing to read Mr. Ushijima’s comment: “How can you prove one person, Katsumata for example, is liable or guilty, when such a big organization was behind such a large accident?” Certainly, this unprecedented level of accident was not caused by one individual’s failure alone, but Mr. Katsumata received his salary and other accompanying benefits precisely because of the responsibility that he was supposed to assume. Otherwise, why CEOs?



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.