Japan plans to take control of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the country’s stricken nuclear plant, in the face of mounting public concerns over the crisis and a huge potential compensation bill, a newspaper reported on Friday.
Shares of the company, also known as TEPCO, fell as much as 10% after the Mainichi newspaper said the government plans to inject public funds into the firm, although it is unlikely to take more than a 50% stake.
“It will be a type of injection that will allow the government to have a certain level of (management) involvement,” the daily quoted a government official as saying. “If the stake goes over 50%, it will be nationalised. But that’s not what we are considering.”
Peppered with questions about TEPCO, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference the government had not decided on how it would support the company but buying a stake had not been ruled out.
Analysts sais more palatable options for the government may include meeting some or all of TEPCO’s liabilities, letting it raise electricity prices or spinning off and nationalising the company’s nuclear business alone.