On March 11, 20111, a powerful earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan, coupled with a massive tsunami that followed, this triggered three meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The consequences have been tremendous – between the contamination of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of lives being directly impacted by unusually high levels of radiation and the fact that this disaster is still very much ongoing. Nearly three years later one wonders, who were the companies involved that so irresponsibly accepted the construction this nuclear power plant at a in a highly vulnerable and dangerous location?  Although the Japanese government was responsible for the location chosen, General Electric, Hitachi and Toshiba were all involved in the design of the reactors and the subsequent construction of the plant.

In a world where ethical responsibility rarely surpasses corporate greed, it is not difficult to imagine why these corporations chose to turn a blind eye and move onwards with the project in a highly dangerous and unstable location. However, this ongoing disaster reaches far beyond an ethical infringement into what can be considered a monumental crime. Unfortunately, with laws such as the Nuclear Damage Liability Law which protects these corporations from accountability in the event of a nuclear disaster, it makes it very difficult to demand that they pull their weight to help rectify the situation.

The Japanese government and its citizens do not have the money or resources to resolve this increasingly severe situation on their own – over 32 billion Euros of taxpayer money has since been injected into TEPCO to help resolve the situation. When GE, Hitachi and Toshiba were asked to comment on their responsibility in the disaster, instead of assuming their central role in this situation, they merely pointed to the charitable work and disaster relief efforts they have donated. If current laws are not changed, these types of globally impacting tragedies will keep occurring, as former Hitachi engineer, Mitsuhiko Tanaka, stated to Greenpeace “when the stakes are raised to such a height, a company will not choose what is safe and legal. Even if it is dangerous they will choose to save the company from destruction”.

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