News / Asia

    Japan Allocates Public Funds to TEPCO Amid Calls for Transparency

    An undated handout photo released by the Tokyo Electric Power Company and obtained on November 2, 2011 shows unit Three of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
    An undated handout photo released by the Tokyo Electric Power Company and obtained on November 2, 2011 shows unit Three of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

    The Japanese government has agreed to provide Tokyo Electric Power Company $11.5 billion in public funds to cover the costs in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled its Fukushima nuclear power plant.

    Japan is providing government aid to help Tokyo Electric Power Company pay for the costs associated with decontaminating the Fukushima nuclear plant site, dismantling the reactors and handling billions of dollars in compensation claims to residents and business owners.  

    In return for government financial assistance, the utility is to slash operating costs by about $3 billion and shed more than 7,000 workers from its payroll - about 15 percent of its total staff.

    Tokyo Electric announced Friday that it expects to lose nearly $7.5 billion for the current fiscal year (which ends in March). The power company says it will incur the loss even after receiving the more than $11 billion in public funds.

    The deal  for public funds comes amid calls for Tokyo to be more transparent about the level of nuclear radiation in Japan.  A task force of the Washington D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is calling for Japan to resolve what it calls "outstanding safety issues" from the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima-1 plant.

    Three of the facility's nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and huge tsunami struck northeastern Japan on March 11.

    J. Stephen Morrison, the director of global health policy at CSIS, says a task force representing the institute is urging the formation of an independent, international team to examine public health risks from long-term exposure to low-level radiation.

    "We think there is a serious trust and credibility problem and that an independent entity of this kind, if it were something that were welcomed by the Japanese government, could advance and carry forward its work in 18 to 24 months and greatly advance our knowledge on those key areas," Morrison stated.

    Morrison says Japan withheld key data during the early stage of the crisis. Recent estimates indicate radiation released at twice the levels of what had originally been acknowledged.

    The country is also grappling with the discovery of radiation hot spots, as far away as Tokyo. And questions persist about the state of the nuclear fuel at the Fukushima plant.

    The concern is that the goal of bringing the damaged reactors to a cold shutdown state by the end of this year could be delayed.

    Nuclear radiation from the plant in mid-March forced the evacuation of communities in a 20-kilometer radius around the facility. Fully decontaminating the area is expected to take decades.

    Despite the nuclear disaster, the report from the CSIS task force released Thursday in Washington notes Japan may have little choice but to continue to rely on atomic power as a relatively inexpensive energy source because the country has few natural resources.

    Tim Adams is managing director of an economic advisory firm, The Lindsey Group, and is a former U.S. Treasury Department undersecretary.

    "There's real concern among Japanese industry that if Japan moves to a different energy source and it is less cost-effective then that will force Japanese industry to move jobs to other platforms around the world," he said.

    Besides health and energy issues, the CSIS report also offers recommendations to Japan on disaster preparedness, its economy and civil society. It calls for Tokyo to liberalize trade and to cut or adjust tax rates to reduce the fiscal pressures compounded by the March 11 disaster. CSIS estimates the quake and ensuing tsunami dealt a $220 billion blow to Japan's infrastructure and assets.

    There has been no immediate reaction to the suggestions from the Japanese government.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora