UK | Tepco slammed over Fukushima meltdown

Posted on July 1, 2011


UK | FINANCIAL TIMES | July 1 2011 18:48

Executives at Tokyo Electric Power, operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, faced angry shareholders for the first time since March’s triple meltdown spilt radiation and brought the utility to the brink of ruin.

More than 9,000 investors, many of them elderly pensioners, assembled under tight security for the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday. For six hours they berated managers for everything from Fukushima’s inadequate tsunami defences to the company’s $15bn (£9.3bn) annual loss.

One shareholder concluded his critique by telling executives to “jump into a nuclear reactor and die”.

For all the anger, attempts to censure managers and change company policy failed. Institutional investors who control 60 per cent of the company stayed loyal to the chiefs: a resolution to abandon nuclear power was rejected, and management’s slate of directors was approved.

Many small investors came simply to vent. “If this were a normal company, it would have collapsed already,” said Yuzo Miyazaki, 77, a retired Tepco employee who said he owned 700 shares as part of a company stock-buying plan. Tepco has lost 85 per cent of its market value since the disaster.

Like many in attendance, Mr Miyazaki said he was concerned less with his financial losses than with the environmental consequences of the still-unresolved meltdowns. “Fukushima has shown which side [of the nuclear debate] was right.”

Posted in: UK