A recent decision by a judicial panel of citizens to override repeated decisions by public prosecutors and take former top executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. to court over the 2011 disaster at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will end the situation in which no one has been criminally tried for what was characterized as a man-made disaster more than four years after it took place.

The legal hurdles to laying the blame on individual executives aside, the upcoming court proceedings should serve to shed more light on what went on at Tepco that allowed the loss of the emergency power supply and the critical cooling functions at the Fukushima plant in the giant tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, causing core meltdowns at three of its reactors. As both the government’s and Diet-commissioned investigations pointed out, much of the causes of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl remains shrouded in mystery, and it should be worthwhile for the court to reexamine the case.

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