Calls grow to curb further govt. support to TEPCO
Members of a panel looking at how to cover costs from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident say government support to the operator should be limited.
Economic leaders and academic experts attended the first meeting on Wednesday of a committee set up by the industry ministry to discuss decommissioning and compensation costs.
Officials said the government has earmarked about 87 billion dollars for compensation and decontamination work, and that operator Tokyo Electric Power Company has set aside about 19 billion dollars to scrap the crippled reactors.
But they said these funds could fall well short of the amount that will be needed.
Many participants said the utility must bear the increased financial burden through business restructuring and management reforms to curb additional government support.
TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, who took part in the meeting as an observer, warned that his company could become insolvent if it is forced to post the ballooning decommissioning costs as a debt.
He argued that a special accounting rule should be created to avoid a possible insolvency.
Before the next meeting is held, the government plans to show how much the cost of decommissioning the reactors is projected to grow.
Hirose told reporters after the meeting that his company should be the first to foot the bill, and that the firm will consider what should be done to absorb the cost.