Japan's government on Friday approved a business plan by Tokyo Electric Power , allowing the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to receive 900 billion yen ($11.5 billion yen) in taxpayer funds to help pay for compensation.
The bailout money will help Tokyo Electric avert a possible funding shortfall at least for now, as compensation payments start in earnest nearly eight months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami set off a series of explosions and caused radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
As it grapples with the cleanup of the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, Tokyo Electric, better known as Tepco, is set to post a parent net loss of 576.3 billion yen in the business year to next March, the government said.
That comes on top of a net loss of 1.26 trillion yen booked in the last financial year, which included the cost of scrapping nuclear reactors.
Tepco said in the business plan it would slash costs over 10 years, adding that the cost cuts would top the government's request of 2.55 trillion yen.
"I urge Tepco and the bailout fund to implement sincere compensation and thorough restructuring, taking into account that they are borrowing a massive amount of money from Japanese citizens," Trade Minister Yukio Edano told reporters.
Tepco is due to announce April-September earnings later Friday.
Tokyo Electric President Toshio Nishizawa told Edano that the company will compile a new plan to clean up the crippled Fukushima plant after it is brought to a cold shut down, which the company hopes to achieve by the end of this year.