The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Case blaming TEPCO ex-execs for 2011 nuclear accident goes to Supreme Court

Jan. 24, 2023

An appeal was filed with Japan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday over a high court ruling that acquitted three former power utility executives over the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Former Tokyo Electric Power Company Chairman Katsumata Tsunehisa and former vice presidents Takekuro Ichiro and Muto Sakae were indicted in 2016 on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. The indictment was based on a decision by a prosecution inquest panel composed of randomly chosen citizens.

Patients at a hospital in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima and others died during evacuations prompted by nuclear meltdowns at the plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The former executives, who are in their 70s and 80s, are accused of being responsible for 44 of those deaths.

The Tokyo High Court found the three men not guilty last Wednesday, following a similar ruling by the Tokyo District Court in 2019.

In handing down its ruling, the high court deemed that the defendants were not required to suspend the plant’s operation to avoid accidents as there was no way to predict the giant tsunami.

Court-appointed lawyers acting as prosecutors in the case said after the ruling that the decision is tantamount to denying the need to take measures against earthquakes and tsunami that remain scientifically unpredictable.

TEPCO declined to make comments on the appeal, but said it apologizes for causing worries and troubles to many people.


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Ex-TEPCO execs appeal $95 bil. damages ruling over Fukushima crisis

This file photo shows a building that houses the Tokyo District and High courts in the capital’s Chiyoda Ward.

July 27, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Four former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. on Wednesday appealed a court ruling that ordered them to pay the utility some 13 trillion yen ($95 billion) in damages for failing to prevent the tsunami-induced 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, their lawyer said.

The July 13 ruling of the Tokyo District Court was the first to find former TEPCO executives liable for compensation after the combined impact of a massive earthquake and tsunami on the plant in northeastern Japan in March 2011 caused one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.

Though it would be difficult for individuals to pay such a large sum of compensation, the damages of over 13 trillion yen are likely to be the largest ever awarded in a civil lawsuit in Japan. Nearly 50 shareholders had sought a total of around 22 trillion yen in damages.

The plaintiffs also filed an appeal on Wednesday demanding that damages of 22 trillion yen they are seeking should be fully recognized.

They also demand the seizure of four executives’ possessions, after the district court said that process can begin even if its ruling is appealed and the trial continues at a higher court.

The four executives are former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former President Masataka Shimizu and former vice presidents Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto.

The Tokyo District Court ruled that, despite a TEPCO unit’s 2008 assessment of the plant’s vulnerability to tsunamis, the utility’s countermeasures for a tsunami risk “fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility,” judging that the executives failed to perform their duties.

The former executives’ defense team has argued that an earlier government study on which the 2008 assessment was based lacked reliability and the management was still in the process of having a civil engineering association study whether the company should incorporate the tsunami risk evaluation in 2008 into its countermeasures.

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment