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Ex-TEPCO VP apologizes as defendant questioning begins in Fukushima nuclear disaster trial via The Mainichi

TOKYO — A former vice president of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) apologized on Oct. 16 during court questioning of three ex-TEPCO top officials indicted on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Defendant Sakae Muto, 68, said, “To the many people who lost their lives, their family members or those who were forced to evacuate their homes, I have caused you great pain that cannot be expressed in words, and I extend my deepest apologies. I am very sorry about what happened.”

The questioning of Muto at the Tokyo District Court over the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in northern Japan is scheduled to continue until the evening, with plans to resume on Oct. 17.

The other former executives indicted in the criminal trial are 78-year-old former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice president Ichiro Takekuro, 72. This trial marks the first time that the three top officials will be questioned in detail in a court of law about their responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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At the first hearing of the trial in June 2017, Muto said, “Looking back now, there was no way of predicting that such an accident could occur. I do not believe we are responsible.” The other two defendants are also maintaining their innocence in the matter.

Former vice president Takekuro will be questioned on Oct. 19, followed by former chairman Katsumata on Oct. 20.

(Japanese original by Masanori Makita, City News Department, and Mirai Nagira, Science & Environment News Department)

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