原発事故不起訴 東電と政府の責任は免れない

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 16, 2013
Govt, TEPCO still bear responsibility for roles in Fukushima catastrophe
原発事故不起訴 東電と政府の責任は免れない(9月15日付・読売社説)

A decision by prosecutors has brought to light how difficult it is to establish criminal responsibility for the consequences of an unprecedentedly massive disaster.
 未曽有の大災害に伴う事故で刑事責任を問うことの難しさを示す結果になったと言えよう。

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office announced Thursday it would not indict any of the 42 people against whom complaints had been filed seeking indictment on charges of professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries in connection with the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Among them were top executives of TEPCO and government leaders at the time of the outbreak of the nuclear crisis.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故を巡り、業務上過失致死傷容疑などで告訴・告発された当時の東電経営陣や政府関係者ら計42人全員を、検察が不起訴とした。

The prosecutors office said the gigantic tsunami triggered by the March 11, 2011, earthquake should be considered unpredictable and the failure of TEPCO management and nuclear regulatory authorities to take sufficient precautionary measures in advance did not constitute criminal negligence.
 東日本大震災による巨大津波は予測不可能で、東電首脳らが事前に対策をとらなかったことは過失とは言えない、という理由だ。

The office also said an on-the-spot inspection that then Prime Minister Naoto Kan conducted at the crippled nuclear plant immediately after the disaster could not be deemed to have hindered the venting of steam to lower pressure inside the reactors.
 菅元首相が事故直後に現地を視察したことも、原子炉内の圧力を下げるベント作業には影響を与えなかった、と判断した。

Given that the prosecution could not produce enough clear evidence to establish a case for criminal negligence, the decision not to indict should be considered inevitable.
 過失を裏付ける明確な証拠が集まらなかった点を考えれば、不起訴の結論はやむを得まい。

In the nuclear crisis, the power sources for the backup generators for the plant’s reactors were disabled, rendering them unable to pump cooling water and eventually leading to reactor core meltdowns and hydrogen explosions in reactors Nos. 1, 3 and 4. The result was that radioactive substances were spewed from the tsunami-wrecked plant, exposing a large number of residents in the vicinity to radiation.
 原発事故では、原子炉の電源喪失で冷却装置が機能不全となったため、炉心損傷と水素爆発が起きた。放射性物質が拡散し、多くの周辺住民が被曝した。

After determining the loss of power supply was caused by the tsunami, the prosecutors office, after hearing the opinions of seismologists, concluded the colossal scale of the tsunami was unforeseeable even by experts.
 検察は、この電源喪失が津波によって引き起こされたと認定した上で、地震学者への聴取結果から、今回のような規模の津波の発生は、専門家の間でも想定されていなかったと結論づけた。

Be ready for the unforeseen

To establish a case for professional negligence in such a situation, there must be evidence to prove failure to take necessary steps despite being aware of the potential danger of the tsunami, instead of merely a nebulous feeling that a crisis could occur.
 業務上過失致死傷罪として立件するには、漠然とした危機感ではなく、具体的に津波が襲来する危険を認識しながら、必要な対策を怠っていた証拠が求められる。

The fact that the tsunami was an unpredictable natural disaster posed a high hurdle for the prosecutors.
 想定外の天災という要素が、捜査を進める上で、高いハードルになったのは間違いない。

It is noteworthy that probes into professional negligence focus on individuals, which was another hurdle in this case. The extremely chaotic nature of the crisis made it very hard for prosecutors to charge a particular individual with criminal responsibility for the accident.
 過失犯の捜査では、個人の処罰が焦点になる。混乱を極めた事故後の状況下では、特定の個人に刑事責任を負わせるのは難しいという側面もあったのだろう。

In the United States, courts sometimes award huge punitive damages for unscrupulous corporate behavior to prevent similar harmful actions. In Japan, however, there is no such system even in civil litigation.
 米国には、悪質な企業に巨額の賠償金を支払わせて制裁を加え、再発抑止を図る懲罰的損害賠償の制度がある。日本には、民事訴訟でもこうした仕組みはない。

In light of the grave impact the nuclear crisis has had on society and the nation’s economy, both TEPCO and the government still bear heavy responsibility for the disaster, even though they are exempt from criminal responsibility.
 だが、法的責任は認められなくとも、原発事故が社会・経済に与えた深刻な打撃を考慮すれば、東電や政府の責任は重大である。

The government panel tasked with investigating the accident has pointed out that TEPCO had been complacent about safety. It also noted that the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry’s former Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and other nuclear power generation regulators had left the task of implementing safety measures up to TEPCO. Both the government and regulators left the studies of risk factors on a back burner. The Diet commission that investigated the accident declared in its report that the disaster was “man-made.”
 政府の事故調査委員会は、東電が安全神話にとらわれ、経済産業省の旧原子力安全・保安院など規制当局も対策を電力会社に任せ、リスクの検討を後回しにしていたと指摘した。国会事故調は「事故は人災」とまで断じている。

Bearing the lessons of the crisis deeply in mind, both the government and TEPCO must urgently address the task of creating effective safety procedures to cope with unforeseen situations.
 政府も東電も、事故の教訓を踏まえ、想定外の事態にも対処し得る安全管理態勢の構築を急ぐ必要がある。

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is struggling to contain highly radioactive water flowing out of the wrecked reactors.
福島第一原発は今も汚染水漏れ問題を抱えている。

Countermeasures as well as operations to decommission the reactors must steadily be implemented.
その対策や、廃炉に向けた作業を、着実に進めなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 15, 2013)
(2013年9月15日01時31分 読売新聞)

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srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク

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