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Japan court acquits 3 former executives over 2001 Fukushima nuclear disaster

ANI  |  Asia 

A court in Japan on Thursday acquitted three former executives at the company which runs the Fukushima nuclear power facility that melted down during the 2011 tsunami disaster.

A major earthquake of magnitude 9.0 had jolted Japan in 2011. A 15-metre tsunami following the quake disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors causing the meltdown of the reactors.

The hydrogen explosion that spewed radiation into the atmosphere and forced mass evacuation. More than 1,60,000 were forced to flee and some of the areas in the region still remain inhabitable.

Following the disaster, Japan had to shut down the nuclear plants that had for a decade been the source of cheap energy for the country.

Lawyers prosecuting the case had sought five-year prison sentences for TEPCO's former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, as well as former vice-presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, on charges of "professional negligence" resulting in death and injury.

Prosecutors wanted to hold them accountable for the death of 44 people including patients from a nearby hospital. The Tokyo District Court acquitted all three.

Lawyers argued that the men knew the dangers as TEPCO's can access that a large scale Tsunami was possible. However, the former officials' defence rejected the prosecutors' claims saying the former officials could not have anticipated such an event and were thus not liable.

The trial against three former executives began in 2017.

Environmental groups have expressed displeasure as nobody is taking the responsibility of the disaster.

"Nobody's taken responsibility and that's been the real big issue here," said Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Kyoto-based environmental group Green Action.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, September 19 2019. 11:51 IST
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