Photo : Reactor 3 in 6.2015 [URL]
On the 13th of July, 2022, the Tokyo district court ordered four former Tepco executives to pay 100 billion USD (97,057,178,988 USD). The Presiding Judge ruled that Tepco, led by these four executives, neglected tsunami countermeasures. This is the first time that the former management is held responsible for the nuclear accident, and it is believed to be the highest amount of damage compensation ever in a domestic lawsuit.
The four executives are former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata (82), former president Masataka Shimizu (78), former vice president Ichiro Takekuro (76), and former vice president Sakae Muto (72). The amount of compensation is the sum of (1) approximately 11 billion USD for decommissioning, (2) 52 billion USD for compensation for damages to victims, and (3) 33 billion USD for measures such as decontamination.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2012. The points of contention were whether it was possible to foresee a huge tsunami based on the “long-term evaluation” of earthquake forecasts released by a government agency in 2002, and whether the accident could have been prevented by measures such as flood control.
The ruling acknowledged that the long-term evaluation was “based on knowledge with scientific credibility”. In 2008, based on a long-term evaluation, TEPCO estimated that a tsunami of up to 15.7 meters would reach the Fukushima nuclear plant.
It also concluded that if tsunami control measures had been implemented in the main reactor buildings, “there was a good chance that a serious situation could have been avoided.”
After the ruling, TEPCO said in a company statement that it would refrain from commenting on individual lawsuits.
In the criminal trial, Katsumata and three others were forcibly indicted for professional negligence resulting in death and injury. The first trial was not guilty, which indicates the judgments were divided into criminal and civil cases. An appeals court decision is scheduled for January of 2023.