TOKYO (majirox news) – Masataka Shimizu, the outgoing president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., TEPCO, will step down to take responsibility for “damaging the public’s trust and causing inconvenience.”
Shimizu, who will become an advisor to the utility, said his duty is to continue supporting the company’s leadership.
He said Toshio Nishizawa, the incoming president who until now served as TEPCO’s managing director, is “a very tenacious person of conviction.”
He added that Nishizawa was the best suited to take the helm of the company and his experience of working in the government-led nuclear crisis task force in the last two months also made him an appropriate person to lead the company going forward.
Nishizawa said, “I feel a grave responsibility “to serve as the president during the middle of a nuclear disaster. TEPCO had it’s biggest loss for a non-financial company. The utility reported a $15 billion net loss on Friday to account for the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear plant, causing the firm to signal its future was uncertain
Nishizawa said the four main challenges are to resolve the crisis at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, provide compensation to people who have suffered losses resulting from the disaster, ensure a stable electricity supply and implement cost-cutting measures.
Additionally, he said it was his “destiny” to serve as president
Professor Curtis laments state of Japanese politics
Gerald Curtis, professor of Japanese politics at Columbia University in New York, criticized Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, President Sadakazu Tanigaki, in a speech May 18 at Tokyo. The LDP is the opposition party to the ruling Democratic Party Japan, DPJ.
Curtis, one of the most prominent analysts of Japanese politics, met Kan and Tanigaki separately in late April.
He said the opponent parties should make constructive proposals instead of criticizing Kan. He also noted, “The prime minister had too many meetings instead of showing leadership.”
He said that Japan has a strong and solid society, despite its government’s poor performance.
Japan Airlines temporarily reduces international and domestic flights
JAL reduced some of its international flights in April and May this year after the number of travelers dropped following the earthquake that struck northeastern Japan March 11.
JAL President Masaru Onishi said at a press conference that the number of passengers for its international flights declined 20% in April. The airline’s domestic flight numbers fell 15% in the same month, he said.
“The issue from now will be at what pace demand will recover,” he said.
JAL will extend the reduction of eight international and seven domestic flights until the end of June. However, JAL will resume normal schedules of three daily flights to Honolulu and two daily flights to Shanghai from Tokyo (Narita) from next month.
Some police experiencing fatigue and nightmares
About 10 percent of police officers who searched for bodies in Miyagi prefecture from late March to May have dreams of counting corpses and suffer mental fatigue. They found 9,000 corpses and continue to look for the remaining 5,900 missing people in the areas affected by the tsunami.
The Kanagawa prefectural police department sent 13 physicians to Miyagi to examine 305 local police officers. The results of the medical examinations were announced May 14 by Dr. Toshihiko Kameyama, one of the doctors from Kanagawa.
“Some officers are not experiencing problems now, however, symptoms may gradually manifest themselves and they will also need support,” Kameyama said.
The approval rate of Prime MInister Naoto Kan’s decision to shut down the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka prefecture was 62%, while 23% disapproved, according to a phone poll taken May 14-15 by the Asahi Shimbun.
The approval of tax increases to finance reconstruction of the earthquake was 45%, while 40% disapproved. Last month’s survey showed 59% approved and 31% disapproved of tax increases.
On the future use of atomic power generation, 43% favored it.
The approval rate for Prime Minister Kan’s cabinet was 26%, up from 21%.
When asked if they wanted Kan to quit now, 41% said yes, while 34% wanted him to stay in office. About 43% said they wanted him to stay when asked in April.
An overwhelming 86% said the budget for reconstruction funding was insufficient. The survey asked people if they wanted a raise in consumption, income or corporate taxes. The result was nearly equal.
Chinese PM will visit quake affected areas
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo will visit Japan’s affected earthquake areas this month.
According to China’s Foreign Minister, Wen will attend a summit meeting May 21-22 in Tokyo with Kan and South Korea’s Prime Minister to discuss the regional situation and international issues.
Last year the relations between the two countries deteriorated due to clashes about fishing boats. The incident left the governments trading accusations about what happened.