By Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky
May 12, 2014 | 5:15 am
In 2012, more than 15,000 people living near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant filed a criminal complaint at the Fukushima prosecutors’ office. They alleged that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese central government were criminally negligent for the March 2011 Fukushima meltdown and the way in which the resulting cleanup was handled.
The Fukushima police, however, declined to investigate. And prosecutors quietly dropped all charges against TEPCO, arguing that it was too difficult to prove criminal negligence even though several third-party watchdogs found that TEPCO and government officials had failed to carry out measures necessary to prevent the disaster despite knowing that a devastating earthquake could potentially strike near the plant. Even an independent investigative commission set up by the Japanese National Diet had concluded, "The meltdown was a manmade disaster."
Meanwhile, Fukushima police and prosecutors have set their sites on a 47-year-old single mother named Mari Takenouchi because she wrote a tweet critical of a nuclear lobbyist. Takenouchi may go to jail for it.
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Fukushima police and prosecutors are currently investigating Takenouchi for criminal contempt; if found guilty, she could face a month in jail. Prosecutors confirmed they will be flying to Okinawa, where Takenouchi lives, to question her on May 13. Police have already traveled from Fukushima to Okinawa to interrogate her — an unusual occurrence.