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Trial of 3 former TEPCO execs showed utility’s denial of risks

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In a baffling ruling, the Tokyo District Court on Sept. 19 acquitted three former top Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives of criminal liability for the catastrophic accident that ruined the utility’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant with devastating consequences for society.

In determining the case, the court assumed that the only way the nuclear accident in 2011 could have been prevented was if plant operations had been halted before the quake. Under this assumption, it considered whether the three former executives could have foreseen that a huge tsunami might hit the plant with a certainty that demanded that they take drastic action.

The court then examined the central government's long-term earthquake forecast published in 2002, which said a gigantic earthquake could take place anywhere in wide sea areas stretching from off the Sanriku part of the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, to off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture.

The ruling dismissed the importance of this projection, saying it had no solid basis and questionable credibility.

Pointing out that nuclear........

© The Asahi Shimbun