3 ex-execs of utility charged in Fukushima disaster

2016-02-29 10:50

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo – Three former Japanese utility executives have been formally charged for alleged negligence in the Fukushima nuclear disaster, becoming the first ones from the company to go to criminal court.

National broadcaster NHK reported that a group of court-appointed lawyers on Monday indicted Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairperson of Tokyo Electric power Co at the time of the crisis, along with two other TEPCO executives. The three men, charged with professional negligence, were not arrested.

The indictment follows a decision by an 11-member judicial committee in July to send the three men to criminal court after prosecutors had dropped the case.

Experts say it may be difficult to prove criminal responsibility for failing to prevent the Fukushima meltdowns, but many people including the residents affected by the disaster say they hope that any trial would reveal more facts about the disaster and TEPCO's role that the utility has not disclosed.

The committee said in July that the three men neglected to take sufficient measures even though they were aware of the risk of a tsunami at the Fukushima plant. It said they should be charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury during the accident and its aftermath, including the deaths of dozens of senior citizens in a hospital who died during and after the lengthy evacuation.

The Tokyo District Court has since selected a team of five lawyers to act as prosecutors to formally press charges in court.

Three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami suffered meltdowns, triggering massive radiation leaks that forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.

Government and parliamentary investigative reports have said TEPCO's lack of a safety culture and weak risk management, including an underestimate of tsunami threats, led to the disaster. They said TEPCO ignored tsunami safety measures amid collusion with then-regulators and lax oversight.

TEPCO has said it could have been more proactive on safety measures, but that a tsunami of the magnitude that crippled the plant could not be anticipated.

While struggling with a clean-up at the wrecked Fukushima plant that will take decades, TEPCO is hoping to restart two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in northern Japan.

The disaster resulted in Japan taking all of its nuclear power reactors offline for checks. Of the 43 workable reactors in Japan, three have been put back online since last year, while the remaining are still offline for repairs or safety checks.

Read more on:    tokyo

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.