Japan: Ex-Tepco executives on trial for alleged criminal negligence in connection with Fukushima nuclear disaster

Author: Justin McCurry, Guardian (UK), Published on: 3 July 2017

"Fukushima nuclear disaster: former Tepco executives go on trial", 30 Jun 2017

Three former executives with the operator of the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have pleaded not guilty to charges of professional negligence, in the only criminal action targeting officials since the triple meltdown more than six years ago.

In the first hearing of the trial… [the former] Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco)…executives argued they could not have foreseen a tsunami of the size that knocked out the plant’s backup cooling system, triggering a meltdown in three reactors…

Prosecutors alleged that…[the executives] had been shown data that anticipated a tsunami of more than 10 metres in height that could cause a power outage and other serious consequences…

The company, which faces a multibillion-dollar bill for decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi, is not a defendant in the trial. If convicted, the men face up to five years in prison or a penalty of up to 1m yen (£7,000).

Although there are no records of anyone dying as a result of exposure to radiation from the plant, prosecutors alleged the executives were responsible for the deaths of 40 elderly people who were evacuated from a hospital near the plant…

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Related companies: Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)