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Japanese Government Not Considering Nationalizing TEPCO

David McAlpine |
March 28, 2011 | 11:09 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

As Japan’s nuclear crisis continued into its third week of heightened fears, the Japanese government may discuss the possibility of nationalizing the Tokyo Electric Power Company. 

Currently, the government is holding TEPCO responsible for paying for any and all damages stemming from its nuclear power plant in Fukushima, but a plan has been proposed about investing state money into the company to help it pay.

Japanese officials said, however, that the plan is not an option right now.

Reuters reported:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano had said earlier on Tuesday that the government was not currently considering nationalizing the utility.

"At this point, it is my understanding that government institutions are not considering such a move. The government will be directing TEPCO to do this everything possible, to resolve this situation and those who are affected," he said.

Tokyo Electric spokesman Hajime Motojuku said he was unaware of any plan for nationalization: "Our first and biggest priority at this moment is to prevent the nuclear power plant accident from worsening further," he said.

This news came on the heels of another bumpy day for Asian stock markets. Japan’s Nikkei index finished up 0.2 percent, while the Topix index fell more than 0.5 percent. Shares in TEPCO have dropped 70 percent and insurance for their plant in Fukushima has risen more than 10 times what it was before the earthquake in mid-March.

In the face of a mounting nuclear crisis, United Nations officials called for a coordinated effort to help solve the potential problem in Japan.

From Reuters:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which promotes peaceful uses of nuclear energy, would host the meeting, possibly in June, Director-General Yukiya Amano said.

He said ministers from 151 IAEA member states should attend.

"(The) political level is needed, this is a very important issue, this is not only for experts or technical people," he told a news conference.

Amano said the Vienna conference would discuss the initial assessment of the Japanese accident and look at where things went wrong. It would also focus on boosting atomic safety and seek ways to improve nuclear crisis-management.

Amano said the situation in Japan is “very serious” and that the growing amounts of radiation in food and water is sign for international concern.



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