The Days: Is TEPCO VP Murakami Based on a Real Person? Where is He Now?

Netflix’s Japanese series ‘The Days’ revolves around the enthralling true story of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, exploring the events that lead to the same and its consequences. Masao Yoshida, the manager of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, tries his best to mitigate the aftermath of the disaster by cooling down reactors using seawater. Yoshida reports to his company Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. AKA TEPCO’s vice president Murakami as they collaborate to deal with the disaster. Murakami becomes the link between Yoshida and the government which keeps a close eye on the developments at the nuclear plant. Intrigued by the character, we found out whether Murakami has a real-life counterpart. Let’s find out!

TEPCO VP Murakami is Based on a Real Person

Yes, TEPCO VP Murakami is based on a real person. The character is based on Ichirō Takekuro, who served as TEPCO Fellow and vice president at the time of the nuclear disaster. Takekuro regularly kept in touch with TEPCO headquarters to update the same on the happenings at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. He played a vital role in moving forward with the venting of the Unit 1 reactor at the plant with Madaramé. Takekuro even met the then-Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to get his approval for moving forward with the venting of the reactor.

When Yoshida started to inject seawater to cool down reactors, Takekuro had to pass the Prime Minister’s instructions to the former. “Shut up and listen, damn it! I’ve got the PMO on my back,” Takekuro told Yoshida, as per Ryūshō Kadota’s ‘On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi,’ which serves as the source text of the series. “Even though he could easily have been occupied in a video conference with TEPCO HQ, or giving vital instructions to his staff at the plant, Takekuro had nevertheless taken the liberty of phoning him directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. What’s more, all Takekuro had wanted to convey was the miserable complaint that the PMO was getting on his back,” Kadota wrote in his book.

TEPCO VP Murakami Prefers to Live a Quiet Life Now

In 2016, Ichirō Takekuro, along with TEPCO’s then-chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice president Sakae Muto, was charged with negligence for failing to prevent multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after the tsunami. They stood on trial in June 2017 as well. In September 2019, Takekuro and the other two former TEPCO employees were found not guilty of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. They avoided five years in prison by leaving the courtroom. “It is difficult to deal with issues that are uncertain and obscure,” Takekuro said during the trial at the Tokyo district court about foreseeing the dangers of a tsunami.

Image Credit: FRANCE 24 English/YouTube

“It would be impossible to operate a nuclear plant if operators are obliged to predict every possibility about a tsunami and take necessary measures,” presiding judge Kenichi Nagafuchi said the same after Takekuro and the other two were acquainted. Although the particular court decision was appealed, Tokyo High Court upheld the same in January 2023. In a separate civil suit in 2022, the Tokyo District Court ordered Takekuro, a fourth former TEPCO employee, and the other two former employees who stood trial to pay around 13 trillion yen ($98.9 billion) in compensation to 48 shareholders over the nuclear disaster.

Currently, Takekuro isn’t fighting any legal battle concerning the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Ever since the conclusion of the case, he started to stay away from the spotlight. Considering his age, the 76-year-old must be spending his old age with his partner and children.

Read More: The Days: Is Koki Krihara Based on a Real Operator? How Did He Die?