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TEPCO chief resigns after Fukushima crisis causes major company losses

Work to contain and shut down the Fukushima power plant continues after the crisis caused by March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

File photo from 11 March 2011 of tsunami waves receding from the Fukushima power station complex.
File photo from 11 March 2011 of tsunami waves receding from the Fukushima power station complex.
Image: AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co

THE PRESIDENT of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced his resignation today, after the company reported major losses related to its Fukushima power plant.

The plant has been involved in a nuclear crisis since it was severely damaged by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami and TEPCO has been heavily criticised for its handling of the situation.

After recording a net profit of 133.78 billion yen in 2009, the company said today it had incurred heavy losses of 1.25 trillion yen for the fiscal year through March, mostly due to the heavy cost of coping with the Fukushima crisis, Kyodo News reports.

Speaking at today’s news conference, Masataka Shimizu said he takes “responsibility for this accident, which has undermined trust in nuclear safety and brought much grief and fear to society”.

Plant workers and nuclear experts are still working to fully contain and close down the nuclear power plant in the northeast of Japan. Earlier this week, the UN’s atomic agency the IAEA announced it is sending a group of international experts to Japan to survey the situation and to hear what lessons Japan has learned from the situation.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Japan Steel Works, which makes nuclear reactor containment parts, has said it expects its orders to fall dramatically by about 40 per cent because of the Fukushima crisis.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: UN nuclear agency to carry out fact-finding mission in Japan >

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