It’s been more than a year now but life in Japan is still revolving around the Fukushima disaster and if and how it could have been averted. Fact is that the government’s now-defunct Nuclear Safety Commission and officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) were aware of the hazards involved, in case of an earthquake and tsunami. Angered by the way these people in power and position reacted to this knowledge, has led to a second mass suit claiming damages.
More than thirteen thousand people have filed a criminal complaint against Japanese government officials, thirty-three executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and experts for their role in the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s disaster. The complaint outlines professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries and violation of Japan’s environmental laws by emitting substances harmful to human health. A breakup of the numbers suggest that 13,119 people have filed the paperwork as a ‘complaint’ as direct victims and 143 of them have brought on an ‘accusation’ as a third-party.
While Tepco executives including Tsunehisa Katsumata, who was Tepco chairman at the time, are being accused of not taking adequate safety measures, the nuclear commission officials are being accused of negligence towards anti-disaster measures. Besides the radiation hazards, the people are demanding answers for the evacuation procedures and accountability for the deaths due to the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. The plaintiffs blame their exposure to radiation on the officials and focus on those who died, for whatever reasons.
According to the Penal Code, failure to exercise due care and thereby cause the death or injury of another, can lead up to five years of imprisonment or a fine of up to ¥1 million (approx. $12,300).