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Tokyo High Court acquits three former TEPCO executives, reports NHK



The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday acquitted three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), finding them not guilty of manslaughter in the 2011 triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, reported Wednesday Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

The High Court ruling was a decision on an appeal against a 2019 Tokyo District Court ruling that found former Tepco chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former executive vice-chairmen Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto were not not guilty of professional negligence on the basis that they could not have foreseen the tsunami which destroyed the factory.

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan triggered the tsunami that flooded the plant’s reactors, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. homes.

The High Court case focused on whether the tsunami could have been foreseen and whether the accident at the nuclear power station could have been avoided.

The criminal case against the executives follows a civil case in which a Tokyo court in July 2022 ordered the three men – along with former Tepco chairman Masataka Shimizuto – to pay 13 trillion yen (95 billions of dollars) in damages to the operator of the destroyed plant.

The move, which came after shareholders filed a lawsuit in 2012, was the first to find former Tepco executives legally liable for nuclear power plant disaster.

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