1,324 Fukushima citizens file criminal complaint against TEPCO, gov't
More than 1,300 residents of Fukushima Prefecture have filed a criminal complaint against 33 named Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) executives and the Japanese government in connection with the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last year.
The complaint was filed Monday by 1,324 citizens at the Fukushima prosecutors’ office, TBS reported. The bill of indictment formally accuses members of TEPCO and the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission of professional negligence resulting in injury or death.
The commission is accused of negligence in regard to its responsibility to take adequate safety precautions at the Fukushima plant. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the failure on the part of the named executives to ensure the plant’s safety led to the meltdown, the complaint says. Furthermore, it claims the meltdown and the delay in releasing information about the scale of the radiation leakage exposed residents to radioactive materials, caused injury and emotional damages, and even provoked suicides.
Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the group, was quoted as saying that the most important thing is the public outcry for a full investigation into these alleged oversights, TBS reported. “Today we have taken the first step toward making that investigation happen,” he said.
Kawai added that one of the group’s main reasons for filing the criminal complaint was the lack of individual accountability arising from the actions of the government’s own accident investigation committee. Those named in the complaint include TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former TEPCO president Masataka Shimizu, who testified before a Diet panel last week, and Nuclear Safety Commission chief Haruki Madarame.
The Nuclear Safety Commission has been criticized for sitting on relevant information provided by the special computerized System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI). Critics contend that releasing SPEEDI data on the radiation spread could have prevented confusion over evacuations and the extent of the no-go zone around the stricken nuclear plant.