Business, Economics and Jobs

Japan: TEPCO apologizes for nuclear crisis


Medical staff from the Japanese Red Cross treats earthquake victims at a medical clinic in an evacuation center where hundreds of homeless are staying March 21, 2011, in Rikuzentakata, Japan.


Paula Bronstein

Executives from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the company behind Japan's stricken nuclear power plant, reportedly apologized Tuesday to investors and promised the company was trying its hardest to bring radiation leaks under control.

“All of us directors apologize deeply for the troubles and fears that the accident has caused,” Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata said at a Tokyo hotel Tuesday, as reported by the Associated Press. “The entire group will work together to resolve this crisis as soon as possible.”

An earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan March 11 knocked out the cooling systems at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, triggering the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Three reactors suffered meltdowns.

(From GlobalPost: Japan worries about radiation and children's health)

TEPCO shares have lost about 85 percent of their value since the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami crippled the facility.

At the first shareholder meeting since the disaster, the chairman told investors the company will quickly compensate those who have had to evacuate their homes from around the plant as well as farms whose products have been banned because of radiation.

The shareholders reportedly reacted with anger and outbursts at the meeting. They accused the company of ignoring danger warnings and then not fully disclosing information.

Some shareholders demanded that the firm abandon nuclear power, AFP reports.

"I would like to tell TEPCO that we no longer need nuclear power. I never expected a triple A-rated company would end up like this. I think the accident is a man-made disaster," Torao Ogawa, a 60-year-old shareholder, told AFP.

About 100 police officers were deployed around the hotel to prevent problems.

A record 8,954 shareholders took part in the meeting, more than double last year's turnout, the Wall Street Journal reports.