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Taxpayers, other power firms to help pay TEPCO's compensation bill  Asahi Shimbun

The burden of paying trillions of yen in compensation to people from areas near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will likely be shared by taxpayers and other electricity companies as well as the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. A draft government plan, obtained by The Asahi Shimbun April 20, proposes that TEPCO should remain under private ownership and shoulder the main responsibility for paying the compensation, but that a new public-private agency would bankroll and supervise it.

Under the draft plan, TEPCO will at first use its own money to pay compensation. It will have recourse to between 120 billion yen ($1.5 billion) and 240 billion yen from an insurance-like contract with the government agreed before the disaster under the law on compensation for damage from nuclear accidents.

But that money is expected to fall far short of the final compensation bill, and taxpayers' money is likely to be used to help fund the payouts. If TEPCO's liabilities exceed its assets, the company will ask the government for "special assistance," the plan says.

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A newly established task force made up of Cabinet ministers will decide whether to give that assistance. If they give the go-ahead, TEPCO will be put under government supervision for as long as it is in receipt of assistance. All of its business plans will have to be approved by the government. A new organization will be set up to provide the special assistance funds, according to the draft plan. It will be established under a new statute and will receive funding from Japan's other major electric power companies.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 22nd, 2011 at 06:06:51 AM EST

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