Ex-TEPCO Execs Found Liable For Damages Over Fukushima Nuke Disaster
According to Mainichi Japan, a Tokyo court on Wednesday, July 12, 2022, ordered former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay the utility 13 trillion yen ($95 billion) in total damages for failing to prevent the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility.
Photo Insert: The verdict in favor of shareholders who brought the complaint in 2012 is the first to hold former TEPCO executives liable for compensation following one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
The verdict in favor of shareholders who brought the complaint in 2012 is the first to hold former TEPCO executives liable for compensation following one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, which was precipitated by a major earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The utility's countermeasures for the tsunami "fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility," according to Tokyo District Court Presiding Judge Yoshihide Asakura, who ruled that the executives failed to discharge their obligations.
According to the verdict, if tsunami resilience work had been done to prevent flooding of main structures, TEPCO may have avoided the disaster, in which power was lost and reactor cooling functions were impaired, resulting in reactor meltdowns.
The court found all but one of the five defendants, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former Vice Presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, former President Masataka Shimizu, and former Managing Director Akio Komori, responsible to pay the damages.
"It's a historic verdict that deserves lasting praise," said Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer for the shareholders, at a press conference. "It showed company executives have such a heavy responsibility and could even be held liable for damages if an accident occurs."
The damages of almost 13 trillion yen are possibly the highest ever in a civil action in Japan, albeit collecting them from the former executives would be challenging.