Second mass complaint coming over Fukushima disaster

November 02, 2012

By MASAKAZU HONDA/ Staff Writer

FUKUSHIMA—More than 10,000 people from across Japan are seeking criminal charges against officials of Japan's government and the utility that operates the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, after a similar mass complaint this summer accused 33 officials of causing death and injury through negligence.

Prosecutors in Fukushima Prefecture are currently examining the earlier complaint, filed in June by 1,324 people who were residents of the prefecture at the time of the accident in March 2011.

Complainants behind the new case plan to file it with the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors Office on Nov. 15. The group numbers about 10,850 individuals, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.

The group is led by Ruiko Muto, 59, who traveled around the country seeking support.

Complainants argued that a broadly backed complaint would show that the general public is seeking criminal accountability for those who promoted nuclear power—and hold them responsible for damage from the disaster and for exposing victims to radiation.

The first complaint named 33 individuals, including 15 current and former officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company that operates the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

It said they should be charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury because they failed to take safety measures and furthermore released wrong information.

Prosecutors have had TEPCO submit video footage of teleconferences conducted between the head office and the Fukushima plant in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

They are expected to question concerned individuals before deciding whether to issue indictments.

Prosecutors have asked complainants to submit documents relating to people who died during the evacuation.

In addition to those documents, complainants plan to submit medical certificates for evacuees who were diagnosed as suffering mental trauma as a result of their ordeal.

They have argued that victims suffered "injuries" from radiation exposure. But it is thought to be difficult in law to establish a causal relationship between those purported injuries and the nuclear accident.

By MASAKAZU HONDA/ Staff Writer
  • 1
submit to reddit
In June, complainants walk to the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors Office to seek criminal charges over the Fukushima nuclear accident. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

In June, complainants walk to the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors Office to seek criminal charges over the Fukushima nuclear accident. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Toggle
  • In June, complainants walk to the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors Office to seek criminal charges over the Fukushima nuclear accident. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

More AJW