Residents who suffered from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in 2011 and filed charges against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) officials, as well as some government officials, announced on Monday that they will no longer pursue the lawsuit. The prosecutors said that the officials cannot be held of criminal responsibility for the disaster.
Forty officials, including former TEPCO president Masataka Shimizu and ex-prime minister Naoto Kan, were accused of professional negligence. Even then chairman Haruki Madarame of now defunct Nuclear Safety Commission was included. According to the prosecutors, the TEPCO and government officials failed to carry out necessary measures to prevent the disaster, albeit knowledge of potential risk should an earthquake occur.
Kan’s then administration was also blamed for the slow evacuation process of people in the surrounding communities, thus exposing them to radiation and causing the death of bedridden patients in hospitals. However, the defendants claimed that such great-scale earthquake and tsunami were unforeseeable. They also said that because of such force majeure, they could not be held liable. Back in August, Kan expressed confidence in his administration’s response to the disaster. He also said that “there was no problem” with how he responded to the situation nor in his visit the morning following the Fukushima meltdown.