‘What Corporate Impunity Looks Like’: Court Acquits Tepco Executives for Role in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

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A Japanese court sparked widespread outrage Thursday by acquitting three former Tepco executives accused of criminal negligence for their failure to take adequate safety measures ahead of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In 2011, a powerful earthquake off the coast of Japan caused a tsunami that severely damaged Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, unleashing tons of radioactive material and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Prosecutors said Tsunehisa Katsumata, Sakae Muto, and Ichiro Takekuro knew of the severe risk posed to the facility by a tsunami as early as 2008 but refused to act.

“The executives were charged with contributing to the deaths of 44 people who had been living in a hospital and nursing home near the plant and died during the hasty evacuation or soon after,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Yuichi Kaido, lawyer and anti-nuclear activist, told the New York Times that the executives “themselves had done the calculations” on the risk of a tsunami “and hid them for three years.”

“The only way to see this is the court has issued an unfair verdict,” Kaido said following the acquittal.

The court’s decision provoked a furious response from the dozens of people who rallied outside Tokyo District Court hoping the executives would be held accountable.

“I couldn’t be more angry,” a man who was forced to evacuate due to the Fukushima disaster told supporters at a rally following the verdict. “We can’t go back to our normal lives. Those who were at the top of the company at the time must be prosecuted!”

Akihiro Yoshidome, an 81-year-old anti-nuclear campaigner from Tokyo, told AFP he was shocked by the court’s decision.

“I had braced myself that we might not get a clean victory, but this is too awful,” Yoshidome said. “This shows Japanese courts don’t stand for people’s interest. This can’t be true.”

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4 Comments on "‘What Corporate Impunity Looks Like’: Court Acquits Tepco Executives for Role in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster"

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David Bishop
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David Bishop

“To big to fail” capitalism at its finest.

Dick Panico
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Dick Panico

It’s not capitalism. It’s still sort of a monarchy.
We’ve never really cracked into that culture.
Probably never will !!!

DHG
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The will still pay for their crimes, the Almighty will see to it.

Dick Panico
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Dick Panico

The Japanese culture allows these guys of
wealth to get away with (financial )murder all the time .
… Nothing new , they (in their mind) are subjects of the Empire. Democracy is not really
their thing .
They’ve never allowed anyone (with a few exceptions )to become citizens of Japan, even
if your a ..Japanese (by birth) in another country . It is an apartheid country .