Arab News Japan
TOKYO: The Tokyo High Court on February 9 rejected the appeal by plaintiffs in their effort to investigate the Fukushima nuclear power plant site.
The plaintiffs were seeking to implicate three former directors of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for criminal negligence as a result of allegedly not having taken adequate measures to protect the plant in the event of a tsunami.
About one hundred people gathered near the court building in support of the plaintiffs, and residents of the Fukushima prefecture spoke out demanding that an investigation take place at the site and that the court hear witnesses for the plaintiffs.
Persons displaced from their homes by the nuclear disaster also spoke and shared their grievances of the nuclear disaster and their suffering as a result.
A woman from Niigata prefecture expressed concern about the rising incidence of cancer among those in the region, while other women who spoke expressed regret that others from the Fukushima prefecture could not make the trip to Tokyo due to the difficulties they face as displaced persons.
Each of the people who spoke, in turn, expressed their shock at the fact that the first trial had led to the dismissal of the indictments, in part, they suggested, because the judges had not visited the Fukushima site.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Hiroyuki Kawai, said that the outcome was disappointing. He added that the judges and the investigators should have gone to the scene of the alleged crimes to judge fairly whether the accused are guilty or innocent regarding the allegations.
The head of the plaintiff’s group, Ruiko Muto, told reporters at a press conference that she was disappointed that the judge did not allow three crucial plaintiff’s witnesses to testify regarding their understanding of the facts in connection with the allegations of the crime of professional negligence which they allege caused the nuclear disaster.
A big earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that flooded the Fukushima Nuclear Plant and damaged the emergency electric generators that were reportedly placed near the open coast, leading to the failure of the cooling system and eventually melting the nuclear fuel in the worst nuclear disaster in the history.
Some Japanese media reports said TEPCO was warned to take extra protective measures in the case of a tsunami with high waves that could reach at least 15 meters.
TEPCO officials reportedly shrugged off that warning saying it was “not realistic.” The manual for protection was based on a tsunami with a height of about 5 meters, reports said.
The March 11 tsunami waves reached the height of between 15 and 34 meters in some parts of Japan’s east coast on the Pacific Ocean.