Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata was subjected to a series of questioning by Japanese prosecutors yesterday, according to local media. This was a resulting action triggered by a complaint filed last year by a number of citizens against 40 people who have relevant connection to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which included former TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu, as well as Katsumata.
The reports said, the complaint alleged that TEPCO officers failed to take action after learning in 2008 that the plant was weak against a tsunami higher than 15 meters. TEPCO was said to have been only prepared for waves that are six meters high. Accordingly, says the complaint, these people were responsible for the deaths and injuries that were caused by radiation. Prosecutors, on their part, believe that it will be difficult to show causal relationship between the nuclear disaster and the deaths and injuries among the evacuees. They also doubt whether it was reasonably possible for TEPCO to predict the massive scale of the tsunami.
The decision of the prosecutors on whether they will file criminal cases against the 40 people named in the complaint will take a few months before it is finalized. Suppose trial ensues and the respondents are found guilty of professional negligence resulting to death or injuries; the country’s penal code says that any or all may be imprisoned for a maximum of five years or fined 1 million yen (approx. $11,000).
[via The West]