The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Japanese Citizens’ Role in the Pursuit of Criminal Responsibility

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The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Japanese Citizens’ Role in the Pursuit of Criminal Responsibility

Type: Article / Letter to editor
Title: The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Japanese Citizens’ Role in the Pursuit of Criminal Responsibility
Author: Herber, E.D.
Journal Title: Zeitschrift für japanisches Recht
Issue: 42
Volume: 21
Start Page: 87
End Page: 109
Pages: 23
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: This article examines the charges pressed in 2012 by citizens against Japanese government officials and members of nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company, in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011 ("311"). It further examines prosecutors’ decision not to indict, and how this decision was reviewed by two lay Prosecution Review Commissions (PRCs), whose ultimate decisions have become binding pursuant to recent legal reforms. The article accordingly brings into focus the largely overlooked criminal justice dimensions of 311 in connection with the reformed PRCs’ role. Prosecutors’ tactics and findings of fact as well as PRCs’ functioning highlight the problem of (the appearance of) prejudice in cases of high societal significance, within a system in which traditionally only "bomb-proof" cases are prosecuted. Whether PRCs will change traditional criminal justice practices will depend on citizens’ willingness to use the possibilities the reforms provide for.
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/45400
 

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