A court in Japan Thursday acquitted three former executives of a company that runs Fukushima nuclear plant paralyzed by the 2011 tsunami, local media reported.
The former staffers of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. were accused of failing to prevent the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster -- world's worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster -- triggered by an earthquake and tsunami in the northeastern Japan, Tokyo-based Kyodo News agency reported.
The Tokyo District Court acquitted Tsunehisa Katsumata, former TEPCO chairman, Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto, both were former vice presidents, who were charged in 2016 with “professional negligence resulting in death and injury.”
"It would be impossible to operate a nuclear plant if operators are obliged to predict every possibility about a tsunami and take necessary measures," presiding judge Kenichi Nagafuchi said while handing down the ruling.
The trio said before the court that they “could not have foreseen the massive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and caused core meltdowns.”
The 2011 nuclear disaster led to the death of 44 people and evacuation of thousands of people from the region.
"We once again offer our sincerest apologies for causing great trouble and worries to many people, including people in Fukushima Prefecture," TEPCO said in a statement after the ruling.
The six-reactor plant on the Pacific coast was flooded by tsunami waves exceeding 10 meters (32 feet) triggered by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011 causing the reactor cooling systems to lose their power supply.
By Riyaz ul Khaliq