Greenpeace Speaks Out Against Tokyo Court Fukushima Ruling

Friday, September 20, 2019

Tokyo – (PanOrient News)
Greenpeace spoke out on Thursday against the not-guilty verdict in the criminal case against three former top executives of Tokyo Electric Power, whose nuclear meltdown contributed to the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

“The legal system of Japan has once again failed to stand up for the rights of tens of thousands of citizens impacted by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster,” said a statement by the environmental organization.

The case against the executives argued that Tokyo Electric Power, commonly known as TEPCO, was made aware of the risk of a 15.7-meter tsunami hitting the plant but did not install a sufficiently high seawall and other safety measures to prevent against the potential disaster.

“Deliberately ignoring scientific evidence of the multiple safety risks to Japanese nuclear plants was one of the principal reasons for the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It remains the default setting for the industry today,” said Shaun Burnie, the senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany who is currently based in Tokyo.

“The people of Japan will be confronted with the dangerous legacy of the Fukushima accident for many decades ahead and longer, so today’s ruling, while a setback, is only part of a long road to justice for the citizens of Fukushima and Japan that will help to prevent another nuclear accident,” he added.

Although nobody reportedly died in the meltdown itself, 44 elderly patients died after being evacuated from local hospitals. The three defendants in the case – former CEO Tsunehisa Katsumata and two former executive vice presidents, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro – were charged with professional negligence resulting in death.

Since an initial nationwide shutdown following the disaster, only a fraction of Japan’s nuclear reactors has resumed operation. Nonetheless, Greenpeace asserts that the nuclear industry in Japan is still not taking strong enough measures to prevent against seismic hazards, including at TEPCO’s remaining plant in Niigata.

“A guilty verdict would have been a devastating blow not just to TEPCO but the Abe government and the Japanese nuclear industry,” said Burnie. “It is therefore perhaps not a surprise that the court has failed to rule based on the evidence.”

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