Acquittal Upheld for 3 Ex-TEPCO Execs over Fukushima Crisis

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's not-guilty ruling for three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> over the March 2011 nuclear crisis at its tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant in northeastern Japan.

The high court, presided over by Judge Keisuke Hosoda, dismissed an appeal filed by lawyers designated to act as prosecutors against the Tokyo District Court ruling in September 2019, which acquitted the accused of charges of business negligence resulting in death and injury.

The designated lawyers had demanded five years in prison for the three--former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and former executive vice presidents Ichiro Takekuro, 76, and Sakae Muto, 72.

In the crisis, the huge tsunami engulfed the nuclear plant following the magnitude-9.0 earthquake. "It cannot be said that before the plant was struck by the earthquake, they recognized a real possibility that a tsunami would hit the plant," the judge said on Wednesday.

The three were indicted by the designated lawyers in February 2016, after a prosecution inquest panel, consisting of ordinary citizens, twice overrode public prosecutors' decisions not to charge them.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press