Japan prosecutors charge former utility executives with neglect over Fukushima disaster News
Japan prosecutors charge former utility executives with neglect over Fukushima disaster

[JURIST] Court-appointed prosecutors in Japan on Monday charged three former utility executives with counts of negligence in relation to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) executives Tsunehisa Katsumata, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro were charged for their failure to foresee and prepare for the tsunami in 2011. Prosecutors allege [Kyodo News report] that the executives’ negligence caused the death of 44 hospitalized elderly people and injured 13 soldiers who responded to the disaster. The three former executives have responded to the allegations by claiming that it was impossible at the time to predict the damage the 2011 tsunami would cause. At the beginning of this year, many of the nuclear reactors at issue in 2011 have been re-opened and have become operational.

Japan’s court system [official website, in English] has been busy adjudicating issues relating to the 2011 Fukushima disaster. In August 2012 Japanese authorities opened [JURIST report] a criminal investigation into the power plant meltdown after more than 1,300 people filed [JURIST report] a criminal complaint against TEPCO for causing the catastrophe and the resulting radiation. The complaint came two months after an expert panel reported [JURIST report] that the disaster was preventable and was not caused solely by the earthquake and tsunami, but that officials did not act quickly enough to prevent the meltdown. In March 2012 a group of TEPCO shareholders filed [JURIST report] a USD $67 billion lawsuit against TEPCO also for failing to prevent the disaster. In August 2011 five months after the meltdown, Japan’s legislature voted to compensate those adversely affected by the incident by creating a fund for dispensing money to such victims.