Prosecutors unlikely to indict ex-Japan PM over Fukushima - media

TOKYO Fri Aug 9, 2013 10:57am IST

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan attends a parliamentary committee looking into the Japanese response to last year's nuclear disaster in Fukushima, in Tokyo May 28, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan attends a parliamentary committee looking into the Japanese response to last year's nuclear disaster in Fukushima, in Tokyo May 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese prosecutors are unlikely to indict former prime minister Naoto Kan, utility executives or regulators over their handling of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, rejecting complaints filed over the world's worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl, the Asahi newspaper reported.

The reported decision comes as Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.(Tepco) (9501.T) struggles to contain highly radioactive water that is pouring out from the tsunami-wrecked plant, prompting the government to step in to try to help with the clean-up.

Prosecutors had questioned Kan, who was prime minister when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, as well as probing possible professional negligence of others including then-Tepco president Masataka Shimizu, the newspaper said on Friday.

The massive quake and tsunami caused reactor meltdowns at the plant, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes, many never to return.

The complaints were filed by citizens affected by the disaster, the paper said.

Prosecutors judged, however, that it was difficult to prove that the accused could have predicted such a big earthquake and tsunami as well as to establish a causal relationship between the nuclear disaster and deaths and injuries among evacuees. A formal decision by the prosecutors is likely as early as this month, the Asahi said. (Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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