Masato Muto works for Tokyo Electric Power Co. in a rented one-story building in Fukushima Prefecture, where only a clock and a calendar hang on the office walls, and most days, only angry people come through the front door.
The prestige of working for Tepco is gone, and so are many of the perks. The company once operated resorts and sponsored clubs for employees; Muto was a running back on the football team. But since the disaster struck, Tepco has booked almost ¥2 trillion in losses.
Economists say the company will either go bankrupt — a likely scenario if its idled reactors aren’t restarted — or be burdened for years over compensating evacuees and paying lenders. Either way, “it’s a funeral company,” said Tatsuo Hatta, an economist at Gakushuin University in Tokyo.
“I imagine a lot of rank-and-file employees feel embarrassed by management,” said Jeff Kingston, author of “Contemporary Japan” and a professor at Temple University’s Tokyo campus. “Most Japanese are proud to be an employee. But nobody ever bargained for this. Tepco set a new low for corporate behavior.”