Japan launches criminal probe into Fukushima nuclear crisis

Finally: Prosecutors in Japan have launched a criminal investigation into the 2011 nuclear plant accident, after more than 1,300 residents filed a complaint against TEPCO executives. Bloomberg reports that the prosecutor for Fukushima City yesterday accepted the complaint, and will start a probe to determine whether professional negligence played a role in the country's worst-ever nuclear plant accident.


  1. My god. It’s like they have some sort of functioning democracy over there! Wow, that’s neat-o. Where can we get one of those?

  2. I think, and I’m trying to word this delicately lest someone think I’m just an armchair hackneyed stereotyping astroturfer, that Japan’s various investigative institutions, including academic, political, and societal, are channeling a very pervasive but never articulated atmosphere of … … “you need to go kill yourself”. I don’t know how else to word it. They will never ask it of them; they expect them to have enough sense to take care of it themselves. Not explicitly “kill yourself”, of course, but something symbolically analogous. I think we read this, and interpret it as justice, when really, it’s something more akin to a bloodbath. All for the sake of “satisfaction”.

    1. You are being a stereotyping armchair analyst, though. Where are you getting the “kill yourself” vibe? This isn’t scape-goating. These men were incredibly negligent. They’ve not only destroyed entire communities and farming land over here for generations, but is also making pressuring a quick end to nuclear energy without other renewable power options available. A switch to coal will be catastrophic to the environment. Criminal investigations are what should happen when people take graft and don’t adhere to safety standards in public works. And a year and a half is too long a wait by far.

  3. As a seven-year resident of Japan, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that they will drag this out forever, hoping everyone will forget about it after a few years, at most finding that no negligence occurred, and at worst reaching no conclusion whatsoever.

    This is Japan. Unlike the first posting, there is no working democracy here. The government is a good old boys club if there ever was one.

  4. Perhaps there were criminal activities that enabled this, and as such an investigation is a good idea.

    But it seems to ignore the bigger problem here: when new safety standards are introduced, existing plants are grandfathered in rather than being forced to upgrade or be decommissioned. Fukushima was built in the 1960s/1970s; if it was a modern plant, or at least up to modern standards, this disaster would not have been possible. Grandfathering might be acceptable for earthquake building standards or fire codes, where any problems might be relatively contained, but it shouldn’t be tolerated for nuclear energy when the stakes are so high.

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