Frustrated Japanese Shareholders Speak Out

To say that Yui Kimura is a distressed investor might be an understatement: She is a small shareholder in the operator of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power, whose shares have lost nine-tenths of their value.

Now, she would like the company to at least face up to its responsibilities to the more than 100,000 people who have been driven from their homes after the tsunami disaster. She co-sponsored four resolutions at the annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday, including one demanding that the company decommission all of its nuclear reactors.

“As the company behind a devastating disaster, we feel it needs to go that distance,” she said.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese Shareholders Starting to Show Their Teeth.

Japan says no limits to Tepco liability from nuclear disaster

Tokyo Electric Power should face unlimited liability for damages stemming from its crippled nuclear power plant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday, indicating Japan’s government will take a hard line against the utility in its rescue plan.

Officials from the government, Tokyo Electric (9501.T), and creditor banks have been scrambling to craft a scheme that would allow the utility to cope with the massive bill of compensating displaced residents while staying in business as a private firm.

The plan under discussion would create a fund to provide loans for and buy preferred shares from Tokyo Electric, commonly known as Tepco. Other utilities would pay premiums as a buffer against future accidents, and Tepco would repay the fund from its profits over several years, sources with knowledge of the talks have told Reuters.

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Japan to take control of Tokyo Electric

Japan will take control of Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T), the operator of a stricken nuclear plant, in the face of mounting public concerns over the crisis and a huge potential compensation bill, a domestic newspaper reported on Friday.

Shares of the company, also known as TEPCO, opened up more than 6 percent after the Mainichi newspaper said the government plans to inject public funds into the firm, although it is unlikely to take more than a 50 percent stake.

"If the stake goes over 50 percent, it will be nationalized. But that’s not what we are considering," an unnamed government official was quoted by the daily as saying.

TEPCO has come under fire for its handling of the emergency at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, triggered by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 27,500 people dead or missing.

A series of missteps and mistakes, combined with scant signs of leadership, have undermined confidence in the company. TEPCO shares are down almost 80 percent since the disaster.

The Mainichi quoted a government official as saying: "It will be a type of injection that will allow the government to have a certain level of (management) involvement."

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Japan’s government criticizes nuke plant operator, TEPCO

Japan’s government revealed a series of missteps by the operator of a radiation-leaking nuclear plant on Saturday, including sending workers in without protective footwear in its faltering efforts to control a monumental crisis. The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, rushed to deliver fresh water to replace corrosive salt water now being used in a desperate bid to cool the plant’s overheated reactors.

Government spokesman Yukio Edano urged Tokyo Electric Power Co. to be more transparent, two days after two workers at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi plant suffered skin burns when they stepped in water that was 10,000 times more radioactive than levels normally found near the reactors.

"We strongly urge TEPCO to provide information to the government more promptly," Edano said.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, or NISA, said TEPCO was aware there was high radiation in the air at one of the plant’s six units several days before the accident. And the two workers injured were wearing boots that only came up to their ankles — hardly high enough to protect their legs, agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s government criticizes nuke plant operator.