The first in what could become a long line of heads rolled as Masataka Shimizu, the embattled president of TEPCo, stepped down today. TEPCo also posted a $US15 Billion loss. Bet he’s glad he doesn’t have to deal with that mess anymore.
“I take responsibility for this accident, which has undermined trust in nuclear safety and brought much grief and fear to society,” Mr Shimizu said. The decision to replace the outgoing president with Toshio Nishizawa, another senior TEPCo executive, has done little to quiet the growing criticism of the company’s bungling in the early days. Calls for reform to the Japanese nuclear industry and its overly-friendly relationship with government regulators have also gained strength.
The Japanese government is expected to foot at least part of the bill, which doesn’t even include compensation claims, in an effort to prevent TEPCo’s financial collapse (it’s too big to fail, right?). The company itself has already sold off about $US7 billion in assets to cover the loss. [NYT]