Post-Fukushima, Japanese Official sees crisis as war between humans and technology

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“THIS is a war between humans and technology. While that war is being fought, we should not talk about bankruptcy.” So says a Japanese official responsible for channelling the first tranche of ¥5 trillion ($64 billion) in government support to Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) following the meltdown of its three reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant after the tsunami on March 11th.

Despite failing to anticipate the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and a dismal performance after they hit, Tepco’s management remains broadly in place, and shareholders and creditors are being bailed out.

Injecting money into the company smacks of the sort of complicity between the nuclear industry and its political overseers that helped get Japan into this nuclear mess.

Though the ¥5 trillion will pass through Tepco’s hands, the company has no legal obligation to register it as a loan on its balance-sheet or say how it will be repaid.

For now, taxpayers, not the shareholders or bondholders, bear all the risk.


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