FUKUSHIMA — Police here will refer Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and 32 current and former TEPCO executives to prosecutors in connection with leaks of toxic water into the Pacific in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, investigative sources say.
The police will send papers on the case to the Fukushima District Public Prosecutors’ Office on suspicion TEPCO and the executives violated the environmental pollution offense law.
Among the 32 individuals are TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former President Masataka Shimizu. They are suspected of being negligent in their duties and releasing radioactively contaminated water into the ocean from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
An initial criminal complaint accusing TEPCO executives of professional negligence resulting in injury or death was filed jointly by individuals and representatives of a citizens’ group. In September 2013, the same complainants filed with the Fukushima police against the TEPCO executives on suspicion of violating the environmental pollution offense law.
The complaint says the central government ordered TEPCO to build underground walls to prevent leaks of contaminated groundwater, but that TEPCO postponed taking the measure, citing costs and other reasons. Furthermore, the complaint accuses TEPCO of using weak water storage tanks resulting in the leak of some 300 metric tons of contaminated water, and of insufficient monitoring measures that led to the delayed discovery of the leak and increasing the volume of water that escaped.