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Addressing to The Honorable Ken-ichi Nagabuchi,
Presiding judge, Criminal Division 4, Tokyo District Court, Japan

Petition Seeking a Fair Decision on the Criminal Proceedings Regarding Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

The Fukushima nuclear disaster sent shock waves around the world. Many residents were forced to evacuate. A substantial number of them are still unable to return, and not a few have already died.

At the opening session of the criminal trial, held on June 30, 2017, the attorneys appointed by the court to serve as prosecutors submitted a substantial body of evidence indicating that even though Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO) had foreseen the possibility of a large-scale tsunami and considered countermeasures, they decided to postpone their implementation.

The defendants insist that (a) the tsunami could not have been foreseen and (b) even if had been predicted, there was not enough time to implement countermeasures and therefore, they are not liable. The prosecutors insist that the defendants should have shut down the nuclear power plant until all countermeasures were complete and safety secured.

They assert that it is a crime to operate a nuclear power plant where safety has not been secured.

 What kind of trial is this?

It is a trial pursuing the criminal responsibility of former TEPCO executives for the Fukushima nuclear disaster. As it became apparent in the months following the disaster that no one was going to be held responsible for it, citizens formed a group, the Complainants for Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, and filed complaints with the public prosecutors office, seeking investigation and a criminal indictment. Twice the public prosecutors declined to indict, and twice the decision was overturned by a Committee for Inquest of Prosecution, composed of ordinary citizens. It is this process that has led to a “compulsory indictment” and a criminal trial. Since the public prosecutors were unwilling to indict, court-appointed attorneys are serving as prosecutors.

  Who are the defendants?

Former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former vice president Ichirou Takekuro and former vice president Sakae Mutou.

 What are the charges?

Even though TEPCO knew about the possibility of a major tsunami breaching the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, thereby causing a severe accident, the defendants neglected to adopt countermeasures. The accident that ensued on March 11, 2011 forced the evacuation of hospitalized patients and other vulnerable people, resulting in injury and death. They are therefore charged with the crime of professional negligence leading to death or injury. 

On the Criminal Proceedings Regarding Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Petition seeking a fair decision

The Honorable Ken-ichi Nagabuchi
Presiding judge, Criminal Division 4, Tokyo District Court

The March 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company, which has been ranked at the highest (meaning “most serious”) level according to the International Nuclear Event Scale, dispersed a massive amount of radioactivity into the natural environment and robbed people of their everyday lives. No resolution is in sight, and the problems confronting people are only growing more serious. Not only Japan, but the world is watching this trial, hoping to see the truth of the disaster disclosed and responsibility made clear.

At the opening session of the trial on June 30, 2017, the three defendants pleaded “not guilty.” The court-appointed attorneys serving as prosecutors submitted numerous pieces of evidence demonstrating the criminal liability of the defendants. We were led to the renewed recognition that the truth of the disaster had been hidden from us. Is Japan a country abiding by the rule of law? Is it a country that respects the value of all life? This what is at stake in this trial. We strongly urge the court to conduct an appropriate and speedy trial, leading to a fair decision.

Sponsoring organizations

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Criminal Case Support Group

The Complainants for Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

140-1 Serizawa Aza-Kogura, Funahiki-machi, Tamura-shi, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan 963-4316

We will continue to collect signatures until the judgment is delivered. Please circulate this petition. (This campaign started on December 10, 2017.)