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Former executives of the company that operated the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. It paid forcefully 13 trillion yen (£80 billion) for failing to stop a catastrophe.
Shareholders filed a lawsuit against the executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). Because of the meltdown in 2011 that was brought on by a tsunami. The court determined that the executives could have avoided the accident if they had taken reasonable precautions. Tepco apologized but will not comment on the legal dispute.
Those who filed the lawsuit left the Tokyo court carrying signs that said “Shareholders won” and “Responsibility recognized.”
Their attorneys thought it was the highest sum of money ever in a civil case in Japan. The plaintiffs agreed that the former executives’ ability to pay 13 trillion yen was “far beyond”. Yet they still expected the men to pay as much as their assets would allow.
Fukushima Nuclear Accident
The Fukushima nuclear accident occurred on March 11, 2011. When a large earthquake off the coast of northeastern Japan sparked a tsunami that resulted in a nuclear meltdown.
Although it was the worst nuclear power event since the Ukrainian Chernobyl disaster in 1986. It was less harmful to the surrounding population since much less radioactive iodine was thrown out. Although there were no fatalities in the incident. The radiation’s long-term consequences are still up for debate.
Tepco shareholders claiming the 2011 accident could have been kept away if executives did research and taken preventive steps. Like positioning an emergency power source higher up.
According to the court, the nuclear plant operators had a duty “to avert serious accidents based on the most recent scientific and expert engineering knowledge,” yet the executives disregarded reliable warnings.
The compensation from the former employers is meant to offset Tepco’s expenses for decommissioning the reactors, paying impact residents, and cleaning up contamination. Shareholders brought the lawsuit to civil court in 2012.
In its decision, the court made an announcement that the case was found on the “most thorough analysis of facts on the cause of the Fukushima nuclear accident.” A command was given to the defendants to extend a sincere apology to the locals and abide by the decision without filing an appeal. If they were willing to consider the catastrophic harm the nuclear catastrophe happening to many locals.
In a separate case in 2019, the Tokyo District Court determined that three Tepco executives were not guilty of professional negligence since they could not have predicted the tsunami.
The Tokyo High Court will likely make a decision on that matter in the upcoming year after a plea was made.