Feb. 9, 2022

A trial to hold the former management of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) criminally liable. In the second appeal hearing, the court rejected the witness examination and on-site inspection at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor had requested.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman of TEPCO, who was the top management of TEPCO at the time of the nuclear accident, and three other members of the former management team, were charged with manslaughter and forced to stand trial for allegedly failing to take countermeasures against the tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and causing the death of a patient at a nearby hospital due to evacuation.

The Tokyo District Court in the first trial acquitted them, saying that they could not have foreseen the tsunami, and the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor appealed.

In the first trial of the appeal held last November, the court’s decision was closely watched, as the court demanded the adoption of documents and witness interviews of experts to support the reliability of the government’s earthquake assessment.

Ms. Riko Muto, head of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Appeal Team, said, “I trust the conscience of the court to find out why the nuclear accident occurred, why it could not have been prevented, and who is responsible for this.

The second trial was held on the 9th. The presiding judge of the Tokyo High Court, Keisuke Hosoda, adopted as evidence the documents submitted by the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor.

On the other hand, he dismissed as “unnecessary” the questioning of three witnesses, including experts involved in the formulation of the government’s earthquake assessment, and refused to conduct on-site inspections at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and other facilities.

Hiroyuki Kawai, lawyer for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Lawsuit Group: “I feel disappointed. I didn’t see the slightest sign of a desire to determine the responsibility of the defendants for causing the biggest pollution incident in Japan’s history.