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Hundreds protest dropped charges over Fukushima crisis

36 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

Hundreds rallied in Tokyo Saturday to protest Japanese prosecutors' decision to drop charges over the Fukushima nuclear crisis, with no one yet punished nearly three years after the "man-made" disaster.

No one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of radiation released when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake crashed into the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011, swamping cooling systems and sparking reactor meltdowns.

However, some Fukushima residents committed suicide owing to fears over radiation, while others died during evacuation. Official data released last week showed that 1,656 people have died in the prefecture from stress and other illnesses related to the disaster three years ago.

"There are many victims of the accident, but there is no (charged) assailant," chief rally organizer Ruiko Muto, 61, told the protesters, displaying a photograph of Kawauchi village which was hit by the nuclear accident.

"We are determined to keep telling our experiences as victims to pursue the truth of the accident, and we want to avoid a repeat of the accident in the future," she said.

Tens of thousands of people are still unable to return to their homes around the plant, with scientists warning some areas may have to be abandoned.

"I used to grow organic rice... But I can't do it anymore because of consumers' worries over radioactive contamination," Kazuo Nakamura, 45, a farmer from Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture, told the rally.

"I want (Fukushima operator) TEPCO officials and bureaucrats of the central government to eat the Fukushima-made rice," he shouted to applause.

A parliamentary report has said Fukushima was a man-made disaster caused by Japan's culture of "reflexive obedience" and not just by the tsunami that crippled the plant.

Some 15,000 people whose homes or farms were hit by radiation from the stricken plant filed a criminal complaint in 2012 against the Japanese government and officials of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO).

However, prosecutors in September decided not to charge any of them with negligence over the nuclear disaster.

Campaigners immediately appealed against the decision by the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, which has the power to order the defendants to be tried.

The committee members comprise 11 citizens who are chosen at random by lot.

But the appeal was made in Tokyo instead of Fukushima, a move campaigners say is "aimed at preventing us from filing a complaint against their decision in Fukushima, where many residents share our anger and grief".

"We want to share with many people in Tokyo our anger and sadness over the fact that no one has taken responsibility three years after the accident," one of the organizers, 43-year-old Miwa Chiwaki, told AFP.

"We pin our hopes on sound judgement by people in Tokyo," Chiwaki said.

Campaigners allege that government officials and TEPCO executives failed to take necessary measures to shield the plant against the March 2011 tsunami.

They also hold them responsible for a delay in announcing data predicting how radiation would spread from the facility in the aftermath of the accident.

But prosecutors decided to exempt all of them, saying that TEPCO and government officials could not predict an earthquake and tsunami of that size, and there was nothing wrong with their post-quake response under unexpected emergency situations.

Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the campaigners, said "there were lots of measures that officials could have taken to prevent the disaster."

"We won't give up indictment of the officials," he said.

Campaigners last year filed a separate complaint to prosecutors over TEPCO's handling of increasing waters contaminated with radiation after used for cooling the stricken reactors, accusing them of committing pollution-related crimes.

Separately, TEPCO officials and senior government officials face several civil lawsuits that were filed by thousands of plaintiffs seeking compensation for mental and financial damage, demanding full restoration of the pre-accident environment in their hometowns.

The waves created by the tsunami swept more than 18,000 people to their deaths across the country and destroyed entire communities.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

36 Comments
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government officials and TEPCO executives failed to take necessary measures to shield the plant against the March 2011 tsunami.

Exactly !!

But prosecutors decided to exempt all of them, saying that TEPCO and government officials could not predict an earthquake and tsunami of that size, and there was nothing wrong with their post-quake response under unexpected emergency situations.

Disgusting !!

Absolutely they could have avoided this on more than one occasion.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

and there was nothing wrong with their post-quake response

Oh, so lying thru your a$$ is totally fine now? Sweet

18 ( +19 / -1 )

There's a National Police Agency investigation into the nuclear disaster is going on but most likely will take 10 years to complete?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Posted earlier about the LDP pursuit of Naoto Kan as smelling of a witch-hunt. They wanted to get him back for his candid (and unscripted) departure from the "government is not responsible" mantra (regarding the AIDS tainted blood scandal) back in 1996. Kan, however, despite being in the wrong place at the wrong time (being PM when S hit the F in Fukushima) came out of the disaster looking better than some. Despite the calls for his resignation, Kan was the guy who stood up to TEPCO and told them to get on with it when TEPCO was all in favor of running away. Measure the response under Kan to the series of "problems" we now hear about under the LDP-TEPCO regime.

On the other hand, TEPCO and its senior officers going back 20 years need to be punished. Those who are dead might even be dug up and burned in effigy (then again everyone in this country is cremated).

13 ( +14 / -1 )

What? No one is responsible at all? All these agency's are making money TEPCO making profits. But no one is responable? Got to love Justice Medieval style in Japan.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

The system the corrupt politicians and J- Inc created in this country is so f....g rotten to the core , it's really disgusting.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Right. And "no one died"...and I guess no one committed suicide over their lost homes, community, and farms, and organic farms...no one died from grief...no one died from being moved from their hospital and support structures...no one died from loneliness...no one died alone at home because they would not leave.

Folks, looks like there will be no justice here. Band together and look after each other cause TEPCO and J-gov is not going to be there for you.

Just remember, they sold nuclear power to you in Fukushima and all over Japan as Safe, Clean, and Cheap. As long as nothing goes wrong...

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Part of Shinzo Abe's warped plan to revive the other nuclear reactors. When you have a traitor in the house there can be no peace nor righteousness.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is what happens when you let the clowns run the circus!

Flashbacks to Judge Dread, "I am the law,"

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Culture of reflexive obedience, eh....

That would sound about right. Are they betting on this so that TEPCO etc can get off the hook easily?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Just like comfort women, rape of nanking, radiation disaster after 3/11 never happened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

after Nanging (China) , Fukushima mascare was the biggest one done by Japanese Govt.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

WoW, I am so relieved the whole thing didn't happen. Now we can finally move on.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well who would have thought?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

WTF....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

WTF?!? Let me guess... "This is regrettable..." So much for the Japanese judicial system. Whatever threads of trust I had in it are now up in smoke.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Don't worry - the situation in Fukushima is now under control. " - Shinzo Abe, 2013.

Disgraceful. Many crooked old men - the ones who for years profited from, turned a blind eye, and punished those who spoke out against Japan's enormous nuclear village - should already be behind bars.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The disaster that befell Tohoku was not a triple disaster but a quadruple disaster. The final disaster was the reinstatement into national power of the rotten old LDP. This ultranationalist party does not care about the Japanese people, except the few rich people. it cares least of all for the people who are suffering and disempowered because of the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear disaster. The only person the LDP tried to get at was ex-prime minister Kan. The real criminals are free to profit and disregard the damage they have caused.

Lucky for the LDP that Tokyo is not Kiev.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Hundreds rallied in Tokyo Saturday to protest Japanese prosecutors’ decision to drop charges over the Fukushima nuclear crisis, with no one yet punished nearly three years after the “man-made” disaster.

Sorry, but they can protest all they want, this is Japan Inc. and nothing will ever change. The majority of the people sold their souls to Japan Inc. decades ago because it promised quaranteed jobs, health-care and retirement. And if that meant looking the other way when companies got caught price-fixing, cutting corners on safety, etc., so be it. Too late to suddenly decide that the juducial autorities should actually do what is morally right after being taught to do what was needed to protect big business.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

An outrage.

Everyone who has held a rank of Director or higher as well as construction engineers at TEPCO since the plant was build should be chain-ganged to work clean up at the plant until it's fully cleaned up. If they're no longer alive, then their grave markers should be ground into dust and graves plowed over. Ditto for the prosecutors.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Most people in Japan are not interested in politics and since the hundrds that rallied in Tokyo Saturday to protest Japanese prosecutors’ decision to drop charges over the Fukushima nuclear crisis, with no one yet punished are probably the people from the area. Again most people in Japan don't get involved unless its a national issue if its a local one in an area where they live they look the other way i would consider the Fukushima issue as being a national and what the Japanese justice system is taking advantage of is they know the people will accept it and move on what Japan needs is the entire country to protest this issue then maybe the leaders will wake up until then the people will just have to take the decision handed down as if nothing ever happened in the past denial after denial.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Clearly going to the Obama playbook in dealing with the massive financial crisis of '08.Do nothing.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Judge is correct only guilty is the nature and if not tsunami it could be earthquake or asteroid' No one can design nuclear plant prove from everything that might ever happen and no one can by blame for this.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

25psot: hence they are guilty to have built 4 NPP on a proven earthquake/tsunami prone location without the basic safety.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wow hundreds

I expect the rest of the country is too busy being reflexively obedient to bust out of the mind meld and stand up to these fat cat politicians and leaders.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Disgusting! And once again, all is forgotten, swept under the rug, give it about another year and the rest of the country will forget about it, that's the hope of these gutter corrupt politicians, despicable. But at the same time, nothing in Japan will ever change unless the people in masses rise up and drag these pieces of ****into the courthouse and not only demand, but have backbone lawyers that can get these lawsuits to stick! But the list is sadly long when you think about how so many top leaders and execs walked away Scott free to enjoy the warmth of the sun and to wallow in freedom. I feel deeply sorry for the millions of people that were affected by this, they are the ones that paid the ultimate price are eluded justice, now they have to relive another nightmare again. It's beyond apprehensible! It's criminal, it's sick, it's beyond pathetic!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Got to respect the people for finally getting openly vocal about the situation.

But this:

demanding full restoration of the pre-accident environment in their hometowns.

sadly will never happen. The land is ruined and people who want to go back there need to see that and move on.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sadly will never happen. The land is ruined and people who want to go back there need to see that and move on.

Yes, but this being Japan, the politicians will try to push a campaign promising the people that they'll either clean the land or that in a few years the land will be habitable enough for people to move back and sadly some people will believe that. They are already doing it in some aspects with the food.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What Japan along with every country needs is a Criminal Code that will force companies rather than individuals as is presently the case to take criminal responsibility for chronic mishandling and incompetent management of disaster crises.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The demonstration should be moved to be in front of former TEPCO president Shimizu's hous. Then go on to around the other former TEPCO executives' houses--executives who had a say in not moving the backup generators from out of the basement. Anyway good to see people standing up for justice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's a simple rule. Just remember that all your lives are forfeit to protect TEPCO and Japan Inc. and get back to work

1 ( +1 / -0 )

25psot wrote:

Judge is correct only guilty is the nature and if not tsunami it could be earthquake or asteroid' No one can design nuclear plant prove from everything that might ever happen and no one can by blame for this.

You are right, an asteroid strike could not be predicted. However, the tsunami was not only predictable, it was likely and should be no surprise whatsoever.

Apologies to all who have seen it already but here is a link to a post I wrote in May of 2011 that explains exactly how and why TEPCO had every reason to expect a tsunami that would overwhelm the plant's defenses.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/view/protest#comment_941923

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Asahi Shinbun reports alarming levels of contamination in Fukushima this month. Even outside of the evacuation zone there is mind blowing radioactivity- there are 100,000 becquerels in the mud in the Myotoishi reservoir in the Takagi district of Motomiya. 55 kilometers west of the Fukushima plant, there is contamination at 370,000 becquerels. And when radioactive materials have also been dumped around Japan without any oversight shows how little control has been exercised. It has been proven that this accident was down to human error! To just have the victims' lives ruined by this disaster without recompense is Japan's biggest scandal ever

1 ( +1 / -0 )

25psot

Judge is correct only guilty is the nature and if not tsunami it could be earthquake or asteroid' No one can design nuclear plant prove from everything that might ever happen and no one can by blame for this.

Then according to your suggestion best not to build nuclear reactors if they can be built to withstand everything, which is about what Dr Kenichi Ohmae also said in his long investigation into the causes of the nuclear disaster, who by the way, is now a member of TEPCO’s Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, along with Dr. Dale Klein, who is the committee chairman and former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There's also Lady Barbara Judge former chairperson of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

TEPCO have already said it was responsible for causing the nuclear disaster.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tsunami is an English word introduced from the Japanese language. The GE designed plant, designed by Americans placed the diesel generators in the plant's basements Not a design that should have been adopted by the Japanese government-maybe they forgot the origin of the word tsunami?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I smell corruption?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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