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Ex-TEPCO Executives to Face Criminal Charges Over Fukushima Disaster

RIA Novosti, PUBLISHED 05.08.2014

Three former executives of the Fukushima power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) deserve to face criminal charges over the 2011 nuclear disaster, the independent judicial panel of Japanese citizens announced Thursday.

According to the panels decision cited by Japans national broadcaster NHK, TEPCO had to take precautions on the basis that earthquakes and tsunami are likely to hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant, even though the scale of natural disasters like that is hard to predict.

The decision of the 11-member public panel concerns Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of TEPCO at the time of the disaster, and two former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro.

Following the Fukushima explosion, more than 14,000 Japanese citizens filed a lawsuit against dozens of TEPCO officials, accusing them of ignoring the available research and not taking necessary steps to prevent the catastrophe.

In September 2013, the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office decided not to indict any of them, ruling that the scale of the earthquake and tsunami was unforeseeable. An appeal against this decision followed in October.

The current decision of the panel obliges the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office to resume their investigations into the three ex-officials. If they will not be indicted or the decision will not be announced within three months, the panel will once again review its decision and pass the case on to court.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident of March 2011 is the worlds worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The disaster cleanup, including the dismantling of the plants reactors, could take up to 40 years.

Topics: NPP Fukushima Daiichi

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