Former Tepco executives indicted

Three former Tokyo Electric Power Company executives have been indicted this week for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the tsunami-triggered nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in March 2011.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, chairman of Tepco at the time of the disaster, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69, face charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

The indictments seek to answer in court whether the key Tepco figures should be held criminally responsible for the disaster. They are the first against officials at Tepco and were forced through by a civilian judicial panel after prosecutors, citing insufficient evidence, dropped their charges. The civilian panel overturned the decision last July, saying the three were responsible because they should have foreseen the risks of major tsunami.

The executives were not taken into custody and are likely to plead not guilty. Local media report that the trial is expected to be long and is unlikely to start before the end of the year. Sources: The Japan Times; Reuters

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