By Ryan D. Smith
It has become official, The Tokyo Electric Power Company(TEPCO) has fallen under state control after a massive bailout by the Japanese government. The bailout’s price tag is a cool one trillion yen of tax payer’s money. While protesters fill the sheets of Tokyo daily, the government has used tax payer money to save a company which causes public outcry by simply mentioning it’s name.
It appears the bailout’s main purpose is centered on required compensation payments to those who suffered damages due to the multi-nuclear meltdown at the former Fukushima NPP. A government mandate requires that TEPCO pay full compensation to anyone who suffered damages due to radiation leaks. TEPCO has, for some time now, delayed and slowed the process of paying out those compensation payments. Many excuses has been giving thus far by the embattled power company. From complex paperwork and lack of staff to government red tape and confusion over available funds, TEPCO has clearly not been willing to allow the process to move forward. This latest move for state control is, in the government opinion, a trade off for injecting a massive amount of tax money into the company’s coffers to assist in compensation payments. In short, TEPCO has found a way to get the people of Japan to pay for their own poisoning.
A company, which has caused massive suffering to the island, will be paying damages they caused by themselves using tax payer money. The same people who have had their entire lives ruined and even died will be getting money they worked hard for and gave to the government. TEPCO will never truly pay the price for their years of greed and corruption as long as they are under state control. The likely hood that those who caused the nuclear mess which hangs over Japan like a dark radioactive cloud will never be brought to justice.
The one bright lining dimly shining in the back drop of radioactive gloom is the fact that the government majority stake gives them the sole power to promote and fire the heads of the company. METI minister Edano has already said publicly that state take over will result in a total house cleaning of the all the current leadership of TEPCO. This new government power gives a small glimmer of hope that top manager spots will be filled with people who have the foresight and sane mind to end Japan’s dependence on nuclear power and bring to light the wrong doings of past management. Although, considering the behavior of the Japanese government thus far, no one should hold their breath.