Japan elects not to prosecute former TEPCO executives and government officials for handling of Fukushima disaster

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Prosecutors in Japan have decided not to indict more than forty former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company and government officials for their handling of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.  The prosecutors said on Monday that TEPCO and those who worked for the utility cannot be held criminally responsible because they were unable to predict the real dangers of such a massive earthquake and tsunami, but did not comment on how they were allowed to ever operate nuclear facilities in the first place if they were incapable of predicting disasters that they had been warned about many times.

It is not hard to find people in Japan who disagree with the prosecutor’s decision.  Toshitsuna Watanabe is the mayor of Okuma Town in Fukushima Prefecture, one of the towns which has been evacuated due to high radiation levels; he is just one of the people living in Japan who feel that the delayed responses during the early stages of the accident allowed the damage to worsen.

The residents of Fukushima who filed the criminal complaints still have recourse available; they plan to take the matter up before a prosecution inquest panel, which is comprised of randomly-selected citizens.  Among the 40-some people included in the complaint are former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu, former head of the Nuclear Safety Commission Haruki Madarame, and politicians Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and former industry minister Banri Kaieda.

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  1. 1amongmany@riseup.net'

    Honestly, I don’t know what good it would do to prosecute them except to exact vengence. Just what would be the outcome of that prosecution? Some money moved around? Put them in a cage where one would have to feed them? About the only justice that I can personally see is appropriate would be to force them to work at the plant in the menial labor of cleanup, and that without parole.

    But there is in this lack of prosecution some measure of social comment that may be missed by the cynical or the vengeful. These men rose to their positions in an industrial and statistical structure that is greatly flawed, and, honestly, society is the reason for those flaws. We believe in statistics that tell us nothing but that the worst WILL happen and proof is in making an effort to compile the statistics at all. It’s a method used to accept what may be to a lay person unacceptable, thinking it’s of the same class as a car or plane accident, reasonably expected to impact a few unlucky, or, at best, akin to the horror of acquiring cancer through second-hand tobacco smoke in global thinking. We allow the corporate structures to exist, even allow and pay for the education that leads to such individuals and their thinking. So, really, though I doubt the reasoning leading to lack of prosecution is what I’ve expressed, it could be reasonably argued by some defense attorney that it’s so and they wouldn’t be wrong. Allow a dog to bite and reward them for each bite and I guarantee that dog would have some awfully active jaws.

    Now understand with what I’ve said I’m not indicting anyone. I’m just sayin’…

  2. taylordavidg@shaw.ca'

    prosecute them all, and dont stop until all the nuke industry crooks are in jail

    the alternative, more and more meltdownd and the end of human life. if thats not worth it what is

  3. Troneill@charter.net'

    First, ethics rules trump ‘laws’., which have been corrupted.
    Next, logic is the science of correct thinking. We need to refresh our skill.
    Finally, individual persons … Not ‘corporations’ or ‘governments’ … Are responsible.
    The person with great wealth has great authority, and its concomitant responsibility.
    Therefore the richest persons are to be held the most responsible for the society’s disasters.
    They must be punished and restitution confiscated from their assets, to repair the damages and give justice — which is northeastern as vengeance.
    Each oneofus world citizens has this right.
    Who will act?

  4. Troneill@charter.net'

    Correction to my last:
    “Northeastern” should be “not the same as” ,
    And, “onerous” a should be “one of us” .

  5. rockhound@flexibb.com'

    I have a relative that works in the nuclear industry and they were informed at a recent conference that everyone in the industry was warned about certain problems with these types of reactors. Everyone heeded the warning and fixed the problem – except Tepco. They were warned again and they were warned about their generators in the basement; that the tsunami wall wasn’t high enough and yet – they ignored all of it. The fact that the conclusion was that this was a man-made disaster tells all doesn’t it?
    They should prosecute them if for nothing else to send a message to others in this industry that corruption; negligence; and plain old arrogance and laziness won’t be tolerated.
    As it is we are still being told that there’s “nothing to see”, no problems at all with radiation. In the future, people will shake their heads at these times if there are people in the future. If they screw up taking out the fuel in SPF#4 there very well may not be anything living on this planet. Very few people seem to realize the danger.

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