Tepco, state deserve criminal trial: groups

Kyodo

Two citizens’ groups in Fukushima Prefecture plan to file a criminal complaint against senior officials in the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. for professional negligence over the nuclear crisis.

Members said the antinuclear groups will hold a rally Friday in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, hoping to recruit at least 1,000 residents of the prefecture to lodge the complaint in mid-May with the Fukushima District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Group members say they intend to target officials of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency as well as Tepco.

They will claim that the failure of Tepco and the government bodies to prevent the catastrophe left many people exposed to radiation, and that some inpatients died while fleeing from nearby medical institutions.

The groups are also considering accusing the officials of violating pollution laws by spreading massive amounts of radioactive substances.

Kazuyoshi Sato, a 58-year-old member of the Iwaki Municipal Assembly and head of one of the groups, said he believes it is “nonsense that nobody has been held criminally responsible for causing a major nuclear accident.”

“I’d like to call on as many Fukushima people as possible, including those who are taking shelter in areas outside of the prefecture, to join our action,” Sato said.

Yukuo Yasuda, a lawyer supporting the groups, said the citizens are set to accuse Tepco of failure to take necessary measures to cope with massive tsunami even though the possibility of such a disaster had been pointed out before the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake.

The groups will also accuse the nuclear safety bodies of not instructing Tepco to implement steps to avoid a major accident, Yasuda said.