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Prosecutors unlikely to indict Kan, ex-TEPCO execs over Fukushima

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There you go, never make a small mistake or you could end up in Jail, better to make a huge mistake and get a nice juicy pension to go with it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Water has passed since 2011. That wouldn't change anything. I hope the citizens get luckier at civil courts as that's where they can get money. What I wish is someone would sue the current management of Tepco and they get forced by justice (or whatever manner) to change their ways or simply let others take over the F-plant. It's becoming a bigger necessity hour by hour.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kan certainly shouldn't be indicted (although he said a while back that he may get indicted). From what I can tell, he actually made the situation turn out much better than it may have been if he hadn't ordered the Tepco guys to stay and try to stabilize the problem. Shimizu deserves what he gets though.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Every executive of tepco since fukushima was built should be indcited, along with the architect, the designers, the engineers, the PMs who were in power when it was approved and the ministers in charge of that industry.

Simply for letting it be built where and how it was and then continued to let it run knowing it wasnt up to safety standard.

The whole thing and how its been handled is a disgrace and anyone involved should face prosecution by not only a japanese court but now by a world court for polluting the Pacific Ocean that many nations share.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

complaints filed over the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl,

Pardon? Due to the continued fallout and foul ups by TEPCO it has been upgraded to the WORST EVER nuclear disaster. - It was inevitable that no one would face charges over this. This is Japan after all, where ignorance, stupidity and apathy are cultural and not illegal.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The plant was designed back in 1966, and commissioned, and you can be certain that most of the documentation, minutes of meetings and decisions have long been consigned to the shredder; and most of the original staff are either dead or long retired. A primary suspect would have been ex-TEPCO vice president Toyoda Masatoshi, who was in charge of constructing the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, and who outspokenly talked about TEPCO’s real intentions about NPP, at a closed study meeting in 1994. He said, “The most important point is to reduce the construction cost of nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities, and to raise their operating rates. The economy of nuclear power generation is always at the center of our attention.”

It was he and his fellow executives who left everything concerning the reactor and the reactor building to GE, but rejected the 20m above sea level plan and had the level changed to 10m above sea level. The reason for the change was that the original plan would have required extra costs to operate the reactor. An ex-TEPCO advisor who took part in the construction of the facility gave further details: “An enormous amount of sea water is required to cool down a nuclear reactor. 25 tons of sea water per second is needed to be pumped up for just the No.1 reactor. Pumping up sea water to 20 meters above sea level would incur extra costs. I remember executives at that time were reminding us that power companies are producers, not users, of electricity.”

That single decision doomed the plant on the 11th March, 2011.

TEPCO not only lowered the level of the construction site to cut costs but also neglected to take measures against the potential of tsunami damage. The Japan Society of Civil Engineers in 2002 compiled tsunami assessment data at NPPs. Based on this, TEPCO reviewed its safety ratings against tsunamis, by supposing a tsunami caused by an earthquake of magnitude 8.0, with the maximum height of tsunami at 5.7m and the maximum fall of water level at minus 3.0m. The backwash alone would have exposed the cooling pipes and dried up the cooling water supply to all of the running reactors, and led to overheating, which caused even one the Communist Party politicians at the time to have misgivings about the plant design.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Toyoda Masatoshi, former president Shimizu and other execs here are the filth of humanity. I hope justice will take place one way or another.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If ANYONE is to be indicted, the biggest culprit is ABE.

He is the one who has consistently ignored the problem and done NOTHING to help the victims or the Fukushima site itself. And apart from anything else, he's the one who's supposed to be in the driving seat right now.

This situation is actually bigger than Chernobyl. The number of people affected is far greater. And because radioactive waste is leaching into the ocean, everywhere north of Fukushima is getting it. This includes, in time, Canada, Alaska and the West Coast of the U.S.A.

Handling this time bomb should be Abe's number one priority.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What about indicting the TEPCO management (criminals) that ignored all the warnings and did all the cover-ups about the plant's structure before 3/11 even happened?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What a magnificent legal system, must be the envey of medieval France, or a earlier time. Decline to prosecute the people who saved the situation, but neglect to prosecute thoses responsible. It's a shame they do not look for witches to blame. Surly this situation can not have been caused by a Japanese person who was in any way responsible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What this means is that souteigai (beyond expectations) cannot be used as an excuse if a similar incident happens in the future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Face indictment? in Japan?? hahahaha... they're far more likely to get millions in a golden parachute and an amakudari position at some other energy industry-related job. At WORST case 40 years from now, when Fukushima is on record as being the worst nuclear disaster, they'll give the former execs sentences. Suspended sentences, of course, saying "It could not have been known", etc. etc.

"Prosecutors judged, however, that it was difficult to prove that the accused could have predicted such a big earthquake and tsunami as well as to establish a causal relationship between the nuclear disaster and deaths and injuries among evacuees."

Yeah, that's called ignoring the obvious facts. Forget about the fact that they were warned for years prior to the quake, there's proof it happened before, they claimed they had been worried about such an event three days before the quake (in a meeting where they forgot to write anything down, of course), they lied about knowing that both this and the Niigata plant were built on active faults, have covered up other disasters, and lest we forget -- if it had been up to Shimizu the plant would have been abandoned immediately and gone into complete meltdown.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The ones, who should be indicted are those that ignored the internal report which a year before the earthquake, which warned that a Tsunami could be much higher than originally planned for- they had warned many times before that recorded history was a poor record of the likely height of a tsunami. That's clear danger sign glossed over. Daini Nuclear plant is proof that Daiichi's position was the most critical factor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So completely depressing. However, great comments tonight.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I fail to see why you would indict Kan over his handling of the crisis. I thought he was one of the very few who made a real effort at the time.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

@stuarto, I totally agree. I think he's one of the very very few who made any effort to fix anything since 3/11. Unfortunately, it seems he's turned into TEPCO's and the JGov's scapegoat.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Um, the title of the article has magically changed from 'likely to indict' to 'unlikely to indict'. Quite a difference there.....Which one is it, JT?

Moderator: The headline has not changed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looking at the situation as a foreigner, unless Kan had been, say, a nuclear physicist and knowledgeable about nuclear matters, he had to rely on the advice from what I have been led to understand was previously some sort of national nuclear regulatory authority which didn't have the teeth to insist that the nuclear power industry apply its recommendations or else the nuclear plants would have to be shut down. Kan had to rely on an unsatisfactory nuclear advisory team which he had inherited, without the knowledge to appreciate that its terms of reference had to be radically changed, to make it a much tougher organisation, as I understand it now is.

Over the decades, with minimal reactor problems, I suppose everyone had become insensitive to the potential dangers of something going seriously wrong. In the case of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactors that their emergency generating plants were below ground, and could be inundated by an immensely high tsunami. OK, you will know all this, but I am just trying to put a bit of the picture into place for my following comments.

Now, a point about which I have no knowledge about is that warning some two years or so before March 11 2011 about much higher tsunamis which could occur than the seawalls at Fukushima had been designed to resist. And no doubt at many totally unconnected locations around the coast. Well, we saw the terrible inundation of some towns on TV shots taken from higher ground. I haven't seen any report, so was the high tsunami warning two years previously provided on the basis of clear evidence, or had such high tsunamis actually occurred in living memory? Or was the warning based on theoretical information? You should know the answers that I don't have. Did people in the govt and nuclear industry say, well when did we last have such a high tsunami; is there clear evidence of one? If there wasn't, it is difficult to blame people for saying to themselves, well, although we obviously have to take note (some time), we can't see any reason to panic over the issue. No one, but no one, including all those people in the Japanese population who are now so eager to blast everyone in the nuclear industry, and Kan, took any note or raised a campaign or even a whisper to get something done pdq. Well, did they? No. Could such an attitude occur anywhere in the world where there's nuclear power? Very likely. It's known as being wise after the event.

Therefore everyone, all of you, contributed to the eventual disaster, but you are reluctant to want to acknowledge that fact of life. And, yes, it could happen in any country which is subject to rare earthquakes, not only those around the Pacific seaboard which cause tsunamis. Therefore reactor installation design features have to cater for worst scenarios, even if they never occur either during the lifetime of the nuclear plants, nor occurred previously in living memory.

I don't suppose any of the present TEPCO management are around today who started off when the nuclear plants first went critical - they've all retired. Or the design staff who were responsible for the design and layout of the plants, including putting the wretched emergency generators below ground - they've also all retired. Therefore the present TEPCO mgt inherited the sins of those before them. Obviously some blame can be apportioned to them for not thinking through some of the problems that they inherited from their predecessors, but so little had occurred in the intervening years to prejudice the safety of the nuclear reactors, would not most people say to themselves, well, nothing much has happened over three to four decades, is it likely to do so now? So what's the hurry?

But where the Fukushima nuclear plants were concerned, yes someone eventually did think things out, a geologist no less, as I believe to be the case. Someone with no connections with nuclear power at all, but who could merely have been aware of the situation at Fukushima purely by accident. Maybe as a visitor with some academic or industrial group, just passively noticing odd things here and there around the plants which were originally of no consequence. Then something clicked in his mind.

Yes, OK, you know I know that I am speculating, but that's very often exactly how things go - accidentally and coincidentally.

TEPCO have an intolerable task on their hands to deal with, and largely paid for by their profits from selling electricity from other generating plants that they own. I suppose also with financial assistance from the government, although I don't know the answer to that question.

But what the incident has woken the nuclear industry to finally acknowledge is that all possible (seemingly impossible, too) contingencies which could prejudice reactor safety have to be taken into consideration in the reactor design features, and what are required for the actual installations, such as foundations, containment building, etc. It's been a surprisingly long learning curve for the industry.

But nothing that has happened over the past 50 years since the Windscale pile incident makes the nuclear power industry a non-viable industry for generating electricity. And I predict that to be the case for at least the next 50 years. Thermonuclear power always seems to be about 40 years round the corner. That's what it was 40 years ago and still is - seemingly It goes on going on!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just wait until the USA and Canada start getting the dirty water, right there the UN and the USA Government will take over and you will see the Japanese criminals from the Government of Japan and TEPCO going to jail.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yep, steal a bicycle and get a 2-3,000 dollar fine and a week on the pen to repent. But, create the world's worst nuclear disaster and get off Scott free. I always said Japan was a land of contrasts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, there you have it folks. Just as so many of us predicted.

No lawyer in his right mind is going to challenge these guys. That's a career ending case. And you thought the yakuza still sport punch perms.

Nah, it's these guys, politicians, company presidents....the real mafia. They won't spend a day in jail. You on the other hand will spend years in prison and will be fined if you don't have a light on your bicycle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Investigators should have grilled the LDP's ex-ministers as to why such a cosy relationship was allowed to develop over decades between the LDP and TEPCO, resulting in a criminal lack of oversight regarding compliance and international standards, which worsened the situation when it happened.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am sure they did the best they could, no reason to punish them for keeping energy flowing and then trying to deal with a terrible event that affected everyone. Sadly the media made a huge story out of this to make news, and didnt show much respect or care much about the people who were affected either in the area or at the plant. They were heroes on the ground and the bosses did their best.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Kan certainly shouldn't be indicted

I agree because (I believe that ) he was in good faith and you don't judge a PM for doing his political mandate honestly. Even if he is the most incompetent. That's a rule of democracy, otherwise all ex ministers would be on trials till the end of their life...

Kan had to rely on an unsatisfactory nuclear advisory team which he had inherited,

NO. He did NOT. Due to his lack of preparation of his party (they never though they'd be in charge). he and his entourage were not aware of the existence of a number of teams of experts (some about nuclear, other about environment, about health...) that worked with government. so in the weeks after the disaster he has not even accepted phone calls from them. Whatever you think of their quality, the experts had a lot of knowledge and data that could have been helpful. For instance, they were monitoring the radiations and modeling the evolution with winds and they could tell which places were at greater risks or where hot spots and who should be evacuated. Kan ignored that, he randomly decided evacuations assuming that closer to the plant was riskier...and he made some people move toward more contaminated areas.

From what I can tell, he actually made the situation turn out much better than it may have been

You can also tell he made it turn out worse.

if he hadn't ordered the Tepco guys to stay and try to stabilize the problem.

What if he had ordered the Tepco management to stay home, and replaced them by a team of experts that was waiting for his call ? What if he had asked his staff to exchange data with the international community and communicate honestly with the media ? Among others.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Except for Mr. Kan all others; TEPCO top executives and the Japanese Atomic Agency should be prosecuted and brought to trial. Kan depended on the information provided to him. Events leading to today shows that any information that was issued after the event had been sugar-coated. These other people had been scratching each others' backs for so long they do not know how to respond to such a crisis. So, is the Abe Government continuing to protect and absolve those of his kind; the pertinent politicians and business executives from doing absolutely no wrong???????

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kan had the guts to act as anti-japanese as being the nail to be hammered down to save Japan. And there are people willing to have him going to court! This is the REAL BAD SIDE OF JAPAN I cannot bear! All the real responsible politicians and business men are still sipping sake in clubs! DISGUSTING at its extreme!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

considering the dire situation and the lack of experience of the DPJ as a governing party I think that Kan did the bloody best he could do in his position. the current government would be happy for him to be indicted because he turned 100% anti-nuke since the disaster and they would rather have no such voice roaming around the political scene.

I do like Kan, he desperately lacked in carisma and was probably too uncorrupt to be able to survive that dirty pool full of shark that is Japanese politcs, but I think he also lacked in flexibility which probably played a big part in his political demise. having said that, I'd like to know how Abe would have behaved in the same situation. I have the impression that his government would have hidden much more information and colluded on a much bigger scale with TEPCO's criminals. thankfully we're now in an age where you can't hide from the world anymore, so they can keep doing their media manipulation and dirty back-alley deals only for national issues of no International interest. I hope not for long though.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ridiculous to link Kan with TEPCO. LDP rewriting history books again are we. Given how Fukushima is still smoldering and leaking I sadly expect Abe to hide and dodge all responsibility as a good TEPCO corporate shill.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There's only one thing you can do now. Get out of Japan and save yourself.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

And why would they drag the ex PM's name? Sometimes, it's really hard to be at the top. I think he did the best he could.some people in Tepco just downplayed the tragedy and they're the culprit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was he and his fellow executives who left everything concerning the reactor and the reactor building to GE, but rejected the 20m above sea level plan and had the level changed to 10m above sea level. The reason for the change was that the original plan would have required extra costs to operate the reactor.

Its interesting as I always suspected there was a meeting where safety was degraded by those who were counting the cost. I have seen this in places I have worked at before with total disregard for the long term major cost of over short term smaller gains and safety of lives.

These people are surely culpable and should be brought to justice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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