Japanese prosecutors have decided not to indict former TEPCO executives and government officials for their handling of the 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Fukushima residents and others filed criminal complaints against both Tokyo Electric Power Company and more than 40 people, including former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
They say the company and individuals failed to take sufficient measures to prepare for the tsunami and deal with the ensuing disaster.
On Monday, the prosecutors said that TEPCO, its former executives and the other people concerned cannot be held criminally responsible.
They say the accused could not predict the real dangers of such a massive earthquake and tsunami, and that they were not obliged to take preventive measures.
The accusers plan to take the issue to a prosecution inquest panel made up of randomly-selected citizens.
They say the nuclear disaster exposed a large number of people to radiation. They also contend that some hospital patients died while fleeing from areas around the power plant just after the nuclear accident.
This is the first time that prosecutors have investigated the handling of a severe nuclear accident. High radiation readings at the plant prevented them from conducting a thorough onsite investigation. Instead, they consulted a range of experts.