Disasters & Accidents

Former TEPCO director ordered to pay $95 bn over Fukushima disaster

Tokyo, Jul 13 (EFE).- A Tokyo court Wednesday ordered members of the former directors of electricity company Tokyo Electric Power to pay JPY 13 trillion (about $ 95 billion) to a group of investors for the Fukushima disaster last decade.

It was the first sentence that recognizes civil responsibility of the then directive of the owner of the plant, which suffered the second worst atomic accident in history due to an earthquake and March 2011 tsunami, and it is the largest compensation granted so far in the country.

The plaintiffs, 48 ​​shareholders of the company who took legal action in 2012, had requested some JPY 22 billion, also the largest claim, alleging the accident caused the company massive losses due to dismantling and compensation to evacuees.

Four of the five former executives accused of negligence in the trial were sentenced to pay compensation, former presidents Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and Masataka Shimizu, 78, and former vice presidents Ichiro Takekuro, 76 and Sakae Muto 72.

Katsumata, Takekuro and Muto were acquitted in 2019 in another case in which they were accused of not having adopted the necessary prior security measures to avoid a catastrophe such as the one that occurred. It caused, among others, the death of 44 people after being evacuated from a hospital and 13 injuries.

This included employees of the Fukushima Daiichi plant itself, as well as members of the Self-Defense Forces.

Both trials focused primarily on whether the directive could have foreseen an accident of this magnitude caused by a large tsunami, as a government report had warned years ago, which the court considered to be sufficiently reliable to have adopted greater measures. .

According to the ruling of the Tokyo District Court, collected by the Japanese news agency Kyodo, the countermeasures adopted by the company “fundamentally lacked security awareness and sense of responsibility.”

TEPCO’s lawyers declined to comment on the ruling, which could still be appealed.

The resolution affects one of the many legal proceedings opened against the operating company, its managers or the State, and the compensation imposed is added to the multimillion-dollar cost of dismantling the plant. EFE


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