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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid