A former vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Oct. 19 denied a former subordinate’s testimony that the company approved additional anti-tsunami measures in 2008 based on the government’s new earthquake forecast.

“It’s far-fetched to say that the measures were ‘approved,’” Ichiro Takekuro, 72, said in the 32nd hearing of a trial at the Tokyo District Court.

Three former TEPCO executives--Takekuro, former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 78, and former Vice President Sakae Muto, 68--are on trial on charges of professional negligence resulting in deaths and injuries in relation to the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

The nuclear accident was caused by the devastating tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

At issue in the trial is whether the former executives knew that a tsunami of such proportions could hit the plant and did nothing to prepare for it.

Takekuro was the second defendant to be questioned on the stand, following Muto.

The three received mandatory indictments based on decisions by a committee for the inquest of prosecution.

Lawyers playing the role of prosecutors have presented testimonies given by others, including another former TEPCO executive who was a subordinate of the trio.

According to the testimonies, documents describing a possible tsunami more than 7.7 meters high and measures on how to deal with such a wave were distributed in a meeting held in February 2008.

TEPCO’s top executives, including the three now on trial, attended the meeting.

A simplified calculation based on the government’s long-term assessment of the probability of earthquakes led to the tsunami height mentioned in the documents.

According to witnesses, the three former executives approved the anti-tsunami measures during the meeting.

In the Oct. 19 hearing, however, Takekuro said: “Documents are not necessarily fully explained. I don’t recall receiving an explanation about tsunami of more than 7.7 meters high.”

He also said the meeting was not one in which TEPCO as an organization would make a decision.

“It can’t be said that we approved the measures,” Takekuro said.

Of the three on trial, only Takekuro took part in a managing directors’ meeting held in March 2018.

In that meeting, documents were distributed that said the height of possible tsunami could be higher than that mentioned in the previous documents.

The minute of the meeting read, “The proposal was approved.”

Takekuro said of that meeting, “I don’t have any memory about an explanation on the assessment of tsunami.”

He also said that what was approved at the meeting were the contents of a preliminary report on a review of nuclear power plants’ anti-quake measures that was scheduled to be submitted to the government.

“I don’t think a managing directors’ meeting can decide on the assessment of tsunami,” he said.

(This article was written by Mikiharu Sugiura and Chikako Kawahara.)