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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid