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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid