Japan to take control of TEPCO—media

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Naomi Hirose, a newly named president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., speaks during a news conference at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 8, 2012. The Japanese government will take a controlling stake in the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, media reported Wednesday, May 9, 2012. AP PHOTO/KYODO NEWS

TOKYO – The Japanese government will take a controlling stake in the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, media reported Wednesday, effectively nationalising one of the world’s largest utilities.

Tokyo will inject one trillion yen ($12 billion) as part of a 10-year restructuring plan aimed at preventing the massive regional power monopoly from going bankrupt, Kyodo said.

Tokyo Electric Power, which is facing a huge clean-up bill for the disaster at Fukushima, along with colossal compensation claims from those affected, will come under “temporary state control”, the agency said.

TEPCO submitted its turnaround plan to the government earlier this month through a state-backed bailout fund, and ministers meeting on Wednesday gave the green light.

“In reality, it is difficult for TEPCO to fulfill its required responsibility by depending only on its own efforts,” the restructuring plan said, according to Kyodo.

“There is a need to seek cooperation of all levels of people and join the forces of all parties concerned based on the awareness that we are facing a national challenge.”

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