MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – Within a week Japanese prosecutors must conclude whether TEPCO board members will be indicted for alleged criminal negligence that triggered the notorious Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, Reuters reports.
A group of civil activists has urged prosecutors to blame three TEPCO executives for the supposed ignorance of possible dangerous factors that had led to the reactor’s meltdown. Last year about 30 high-profile TEPCO officials emerged unscathed after Tokyo’s District Prosecutors Office decided against a similar joint complaint lodged by residents.
According to the citizens’ group, the TEPCO chairman and two vice-presidents had allegedly been informed of the plant’s poor resistance to tsunamis, but failed to take due steps to prevent an accident.
The process was kicked off by one of Japan’s Prosecutorial Review Commisions, legal bodies formed after World War II to overcome bureaucratic hurdles. They comprise of civil appointees and have the right to initiate prosecutions.
However, the outcome of the lawsuit is still precarious. “There is a 50 percent chance that some or all of the three ex-TEPCO executives will be indicted and 99,9 percent chance those indicted will be found not guilty,” predicts lawyer Shin Ushijima, quoted Reuters. The expert also hinted at powerful organizations that may pull strings to derail Fukushima-related investigations.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011, after a devastating tsunami had engulfed the nuclear plant. The Fukushima I Nuclear Plant reactor subsequently began to melt down releasing radioactive substance into the sea. As a result, nearly 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes. The immensity of the accident has been likened to the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, and has prompted Japanese authorities to phase down the country’s entire nuclear energy industry.