Former executives charged over Fukushima accident

Tokyo, Feb 29 (IANS) Japanese prosecutors on Monday charged three former directors of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) — that operates the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant — in the first criminal trial linked to the 2011 atomic accident.

The three former TEPCO directors are Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, and president of the company at the time of the accident, and former vice presidents, Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69, EFE news reported.

The prosecutor’s decision comes after a group of affected people submitted a first complaint in 2012 against a total of 42 authorities and managers of the plant who they alleged, were still operating the Fukushima Daiichi plant, without ensuring adequate security measures despite the risks.

The three defendants were not arrested.

The prosecution believes the accident at the Fukushima plant, whose reactors suffered partial mergers after losing the cooling system, exposed those living around the plant to highly radioactive emissions.

In addition, 13 people, including plant workers and armed force members were injured after the accident and 44 died after being evacuated from a hospital where they were admitted.

TEPCO has apologised “for the inconvenience and worry caused to the residents of Fukushima and the rest of society by the nuclear accident.”

Emissions and discharges of contaminated water from the accident, considered the worst since the Chernobyl (Ukraine) disaster in 1986, has displaced thousands of people living close to the plant and caused millions in damage to agriculture, livestock, fishing, and many other sectors of the local economy.

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