Court To Rule On Ex - Tepco Execs In Fukushima Case

Court to rule on ex-TEPCO execs in Fukushima case

A Japanese district court will rule on Thursday whether three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company were responsible for the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and two former vice presidents, Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto, were indicted on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. All three have denied the charges, and have pled not guilty.

Public prosecutors decided not to indict the three, but an inquest panel, comprised of randomly chosen citizens, decided that the former executives should stand court trial.

In line with the panel decision, the men were indicted by court-appointed lawyers. The trial began at the Tokyo District Court in June, 2017, and held 37 deliberations.

Major points of contention are whether the three defendants could have anticipated the massive tsunami that caused the nuclear accident, and whether the accident could have been prevented if necessary measures had been in place.

A former senior TEPCO official in charge of tsunami preventive measures testified that he reported the need for stricter procedures at a meeting attended by Katsumata, and that his report was approved without any opposition.

The court-appointed lawyers, who serve as prosecutors, have argued that a massive tsunami was predictable based on such testimonies. They are demanding five-year prison sentences.

But the three defendants reject the former official's testimony, saying the meeting was not one in which decisions were made and that they did not give any approval.

The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling from 1:15 p.m.