Posts Tagged ‘Masataka Shimizu’

TEPCO stocks are on their way to losing all value

March 30, 2011

Shares in Tokyo Electric, commonly known as TEPCO, dropped another 17.7 percent on Wednesday to 466 yen and trading was later stopped.

Chart: tepco stock 20110330

It seems inevitable that TEPCO stocks will lose all their value and will be driven to zero – unless nationalisation comes first. Now even the largest shareholders are being hit:

Shares in TEPCO’s main bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group , which is also a large shareholder with a 2.7 percent holding, fell 2.1 percent.
Dai-ichi Life Insurance , which is the second-largest shareholder in TEPCO with 4.1 percent stake, rose 3 percent after Deutsche Securities said the impact of TEPCO stock price fall is limited on its embedded value, a measure of an insurer’s worth that includes the present value of future earnings from life insurance contracts.  However, Dai-ichi shares have fallen 18 percent compared with a 10.3 percent decline in the benchmark Nikkei 225 index .

There is a vacuum in the leadership of TEPCO. The President of TEPCO Masataka Shimizu has been hospitalized for high blood pressure and dizziness. Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata will take over operation of the power company. He is 70 years old and faces an unenviable task.

Tsunehisa Katsumata: kyoto photo

Tsunehisa Katsumata served as President of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc., from October 2002 to June 2008. Mr. Katsumata has been the Chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc., since June 2008. Mr. Katsumata serves as Chairman of the Board of Federation Of Electric Power Companies of Japan. He has been an Outside Director of Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. and NKSJ Holdings, Inc. since April 1, 2010. Mr. Katsumata has been a Director of Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. since June 1996. He serves as an Outside Director at KDDI Corp. He serves as Chairman of Evaluation Committee at Japan Finance Corporation.

TEPCO President goes AWOL – not seen in public since March 13th

March 27, 2011

While the toll of casualties keeps increasing it has emerged that TEPCO’s President Masataka Shimizu has gone into seclusion and has not been seen publicly since 13th March. In the meantime the leaderless TEPCO has retracted the very high radiation results from reactor #2.

The National police Agency’s figures for casualties from the earthquake and tsunami, as of Sunday night, exceeds 27,000 killed or missing:

Number of people killed 10,804

Number of people missing 16,244

At the Fukushima plant TEPCO has retracted the measurements of high radioactivity they announced earlier and give the impression, not so much of being clueless, but certainly of being without any coherent leadership.

NHK reports:

Tokyo Electric Power Company has retracted its announcement that 10 million times the normal density of radioactive materials had been detected in water at the Number 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The utility says it will conduct another test of the leaked water at the reactor’s turbine building.

The company said on Sunday evening that the data for iodine-134 announced earlier in the day was actually for another substance that has a longer half-life.

The plant operator said earlier on Sunday that 2.9 billion becquerels per cubic centimeter had been detected in the leaked water.

It said although the initial figure was wrong, the water still has a high level of radioactivity of 1,000 millisieverts per hour.

The perception of TEPCO being without leadership first built up when the President Masataka Shimizu tried to abdicate all responsibility for the site on March 14th and was severely told off by the Prime Minister and the government.

But it now emerges from Kyodo News that he has not been seen publicly since 13th March. He seems to have gone AWOL:

Masataka Shimizu, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, fell sick March 16 and took some days off from the liaison office between the government and the utility firm, TEPCO officials said Sunday.

While Shimizu was away from the office set up at the firm’s headquarters, he collected information and issued instructions from a different room of the headquarters building to address the troubles at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station hit by the March 11 quake and subsequent tsunami, the officials said. He has already recovered and come back to work at the liaison office, they said.

A TEPCO spokesperson declined to elaborate on his health condition, but said he did not fall over or need to be hooked up to an intravenous drip.

Shimizu has not appeared in public since attending a press conference on March 13, two days after the catastrophe that wreaked havoc on northeastern and eastern Japan.

TEPCO was ready to give up and abdicate on 14th March

March 18, 2011

The Mainichi Daily News carries this story. Even in the unprecedented situation after the quake and tsunami and with the nature of the radiation risks involved the reaction of some of the TEPCO employees is understandable; but that TEPCO as a Corporation was ready to give up and ask the SDF to bear all the risks smacks of Corporate cowardice and does not say much for the Corporation’s values:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) told the government on March 14 that it wanted to withdraw all of its workers from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it has been learned.

TEPCO’s suggestion came two days after a cooling system failure caused by the March 11 quake and tsunami triggered a hydrogen blast at the plant’s No. 1 reactor. Though Prime Minister Naoto Kan rejected the proposal, the finding suggests that the power company was aware from an early stage that damage at the plant could develop into a nuclear disaster exposing workers to high levels of radiation. It is believed that TEPCO was prepared to let Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military handle the situation.

Several government sources said that TEPCO officials told Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda over the phone that the company wanted to withdraw all of its workers. Both government officials turned down the requests and reported them to Kan.

Shortly after 4 a.m. on March 15, Kan summoned TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu to the Prime Minister’s Office and told him pulling out was not an option. He added that a joint countermeasures headquarters would be set up.

Afterwards, the prime minister visited TEPCO’s head office in Tokyo and said, “This is not a matter of TEPCO going under; it’s about what will become of Japan.”

Government officials confirmed that TEPCO’s suggestions on the night of March 14 indicated the company wanted to pull out all of its workers.

At the same time complaints are smoldering within TEPCO over Kan’s response. TEPCO officials said that the company has 4,000 to 5,000 workers at the plant, including those from cooperating firms, but now only about 300 remain. They are working to control and restore power-generation stations.

“Saying, ‘I won’t allow you to pull out,’ is like saying, ‘Get exposed to radiation and keep going until you die,'” one member of the company commented.

TEPCO could well have allowed all workers who wished to do so to leave the plant while bearing their corporate responsibility. I am quite sure that there would have been many TEPCO employees who would have volunteered for emergency operations. Masataka Shimizu and TEPCO are no Samurai – but perhaps that is no longer a reasonable expectation. It does seem as if the military are now in control.

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