The Tokyo District Court has dismissed an appeal by Tepco shareholders calling for disclosure of a government panel’s records of questioning of executives over the March 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
“The decision accepted all of what the government claimed and therefore is regrettable,” the shareholders said in a statement following the ruling Tuesday. They said they would file an immediate appeal.
The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission was formed in 2011 to investigate the causes of the nuclear disaster by questioning executives of the utility, now called Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., including Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman of the utility, and others.
The questioning was conducted on condition that it would not be used to assign blame.
Only the records of the interviews of those who agreed that their answers would be made public have been disclosed, including Masao Yoshida, the late former chief of Fukushima No. 1.
The shareholders are seeking disclosure of the records on 11 Tepco officials and three officials of the now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
“If the records are disclosed, it would be extremely difficult to gain cooperation from related parties in future investigations,” presiding Judge Akihiko Otake said, deciding that the disclosure could disrupt the execution of official duties.
The court also concluded that the undisclosed portion of the records that was not revealed in previous disclosures should be kept confidential.
Initially, the records of questioning of some 770 Tepco and government officials in 2011 and 2012 were all kept under wraps. But following media reports on the Yoshida interview, the government decided to change its policy and disclose them with interviewees’ consent.
Since September 2014, the government has disclosed the records of some 240 interviewees.