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TEPCO president mulls paying damages; says he won't resign

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I'm glad these people are protesting and speaking their minds; they make some very poignant remarks:

'“You are eating a warm meal every day,” said Konno, complaining that the two pieces of bread provided daily at the evacuation center where he is staying were not fit to be fed to dogs.'

Disgusting.

Regardless, the headline is slightly misleading. They're only mulling paying NOW; they will most certainly not be able to mull paying in the long run. That said, they SHOULD start paying people on a provisional basis, as they clearly are not doing well at the moment and have no means to earn a living.

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TEPCO must provide evacuees better meals , hot/warm meals each day at least,so that people will be much less upset.

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Free electricity for everyone in the Tohoku, Kanto region.

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Whether he resigns or not is immaterial. Whether his company pays damages or not is so, too - they exist now only because they are allowed to do so due to policy reasons. Their liabilities vastly exceed whatever assets they have or may in the future be able to accumulate.

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“You are eating a warm meal every day,” said Konno, complaining that the two pieces of bread provided daily at the evacuation center where he is staying were not fit to be fed to dogs.'

And now we see why people in Japan do not trust TEPCO.

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This loser needs stringing up.

My current biggest responsibility is to make utmost efforts

Here we go, same old vapid stock phrases and a by-the-book bow. It's a pity he didn't see fit to address his responsibilities when he took himself off to hospital for feeling dizzy.

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Ivan, I agree 100%. Too bad the lynching won't happen though. He already did the "Gomenasai" dance, and you know what that means to we Japanese. I have a feeling it will be shoganai attitude from here on. I hope I am wrong, but this turkey needs to flogged and shamed publicly for his corrupt and arrogant attitude before this.

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He says sorry, but not what he and his company did wrong. I say flog him until he figures it out and says it, clear as day. Until then, I will believe he thinks they did nothing wrong and are just trying to defray the anger against them, which they think is unjustified.

Moderator: Readers, calling for the TEPCO president to be flogged lowers the level of discussion and reflects badly on yourselves.

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I'd also like to know how much of his summer "bonus" he intends to donate to the victims of his incompetence.

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Free electricity for everyone in the Tohoku, Kanto region.

well... not really. it's hardly going to be free. just need to conserve it and be sensible about power conservation, etc. TEPCO need to educate you more on that point. it's not going to be free...

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The heads of Tepco should be facing criminal charges as soon as possible.

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Shigeaki Konno, 73, an auto mechanic who lived 11 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant:

"I can't work and that means I have no money"

The guy is 73, and he has to work, and he has no money in the bank? That is a bad situation.

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I want this man to make amends after he gets his own hands dirty cleaning up this mess. It was his cost-cutting zealotry that in some measure pressured TEPCO execs to dismiss (on at least 4 occasions over the past decade) expert opinion regarding the risk of a major tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi. He was also at the helm as TEPCO kept spent fuel rods on site rather than process them properly, in the interest of profits. This is a man whose pandering to stockholders has cost many many a family their livelihood for many years to come, not to mention the endangerment of millions of people's lives. He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. Send this man in for cleanup detail, and then he can talk about trying his best.

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So, as a result, the rest of us can look forward to a 30-40% increase in our power bills to compensate TEPCO. - These mullets have been warned on countless occasions over the last decade about the inadequacies of the dai-ichi plant and the others they control, but did nothing. If I am not mistaken, they also control Japan's largest nuclear plant in Shizuoka. Gawd help the planet if that one goes!

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He should donate all his salary to the earthquake victims. They should have accepted help from the Japanese government as well as foreign assistance from other countries.

Shame on them ! ! !

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How old is this guy ? He should stay working for 2 years. To help quell the problems he created. Cost cutting radiation suits what a evil man.

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Mistakes were made. But let us help others to move on. Just watching what a genuine effort Cyndi is doing with her music. Also,just checked another rap song from another artist. Check Yomigaere on youtube. Lovely words.

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The president has again displayed a total lack of understanding about this situation, and I might add that in all OECD countries, except here a 75 yo does not have to rely on working.

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@cricky I might add that in all OECD countries, except here a 75 yo does not have to rely on working.

The incompetence and poor record keeping of the Japan Pension Scheme left millions of of people without pensions; Shigeaki Konno is probably just one of thousands there left fending for himself...

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Was he the one making all the crappy decisions lately? If so, he should save any last remaining face he has and get into the white coveralls at the plant for a full-day/dose.

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"Free electricity for everyone in the Tohoku, Kanto region."

Yeah. Great idea, except that the electricity from Fukushima goes to Tokyo. You know that right?

Tohoku Denryoku supplies Tohoku with power. Most people know that.

So we are going to steal from companies that had nothing to do with this are we?

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This is just more DEMA. Who does not think he is doing what he should do? Who does not understand why he is doing it?

Yeah. But we all have to say that he is some kind of ghoulish criminal right this minute. Pile on. Be as negative as possible and shout loudly how nobody can be trusted.

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Klein2 is right - he probably even isn't directly responsible for all of the bad decisions that brought us to this point. Don't most companies here leave all the important stuff up to groups rather than individuals?

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OK. Here is why I don't think he should resign. He is presiding over a disaster that nobody saw coming. Nobody. People who study this their whole lives were stunned. Not lawyers and soundbite people, but people who really know this stuff.

These are not THE facts, but they are SOME facts that I got today from people who spend their whole lives studying this stuff. They don't talk to newspapers, by and large, but they are extremely respected among their peers, which is all I care about anyway. I was at a meeting of about 500 scientists who announced some preliminary results of related topics.

I said before that this tsunami was epic. People poo-pooed that. Uh. Well. It was epic. There is a lot of evidence showing that, where Sumatra was a roll, this quake, called a megathrust, was a snap. It created a peak of water that was far higher than any recorded. The Alaska tsunami was put up for comparison. After that peak wave, there were as many as 6 waves following on, which pulverized breakwaters, literally bending them back and forth until they broke... that is, if the first wave did not already shatter them.

I have not seen any comments posted here that are authoritative about tsunami. These guys were talking about units you have never heard of, so I sucked it all in. In terms of wave height at the coast, in terms of the area affected, in terms of damage, in terms of having rocks and debris in teh waves adding to destructive power, even the 869 tsunami (Jomon? I dont have my notes here) was a daisy.

The data are pretty good at many sites near the coast and out in the ocean. The only sensor that was pegged and destroyed was where?... anybody want to guess? Miyako. The height was as high as the trough, so the sensor could not zero. Miyako was destroyed by a wave that was focused by its run up area and its "bay" ...you might read somewhere that the wave height there was tens of meters.

Core samples have indicated effects of the 869 tsunami at different points inland. This wave was higher, it penetrated further inland (up to 2.5 km in parts of Sendai), and brought more water and debris. And that is even AFTER walls and countermeasures, which were generally designed to withstand 3-5 m waves. This was estimated as 6-8 m at the first peak.

Finally, regarding tsunami, they have different character in different locations. The run up area, the landforms on the coast, the countermeasures all make a difference.

All countermeasures were overwhelmed everywhere. There has been not one instance of any wall or device that stopped the tsunami, although parts of some installations remain. Those are being studied. Waves commonly swept 1 km inland. Only altitude made any difference really, which is why annnouncements made a few days ago urged people to find high buildings instead of trying to outdistance waves.

Japan's geography was changed.

That was the wave that hit Fukushima. Not a thousand year event. Looks more like a 5000 year event. That is my reckoning.

But what about the quake?

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Masataka Shimizu should resign. If he doesn't resign, then he should be fired. Currently, there is an almost complete lack of faith in this mans ability to lead TEPCO or to find a solution to this debacle. He wasn't responsible for the earthquake or the tsunami but he is responsible for TEPCO's response or lack of response to the resulting disaster.

I believe that in times of crisis, people should lead, follow or get out of the way and Shimizu should get out of the way.

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@Klein2,

He is presiding over a disaster that nobody saw coming. Nobody. People who study this their whole lives were stunned. Not lawyers and soundbite people, but people who really know this stuff.

Just another soundbite (and a false soundbite no less). I refer you to... JT:

japantoday(dot)com/category/national/view/researcher-warned-2-years-ago-of-massive-tsunami-striking-nuclear-plant

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arrestpaul at 02:43 AM JST - 14th April. Masataka Shimizu should resign. If he doesn't resign, then he should be fired. Currently, there is an almost complete lack of faith in this mans ability to lead TEPCO or to find a solution to this debacle.

Even if Shimizu resigns and Japan government had to get into the act, the takeover will become more of a problem because of TEPCO's financial wounds. There will be over $24 billion in emergency loans from Japan's biggest banks would not be sufficient to cover the costs it was racking up. If the nuclear crisis drags on for two more years, liabilities for compensation claims alone could mount to estimated $130 billion, nearly four times TEPCO's equity. And there are long term legal problems that are not address yet. The company is boxed in by societal norms as well. It could very well claim immunity from legal claims because the earthquake and tsunami that caused the crisis were, so to speak, acts of God. But the likely public reaction to such a claim makes it shameful and thus untenable.

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there is no justice. people will die! people have lost everything! those contaminated will die in a few years. this man did nothing,nothing!!

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At a packed news conference, Masataka Shimizu apologized...Shimizu repeatedly said he tried his ‘‘best’’ in dealing the situation... and that he would devote all his energy to trying to contain the crisis.

Right out of the Leadership in Japan 101 playbook. Apologize, focus on effort/process and not results, throw in the ganbatte spirit. And this is exactly what is wrong with TEPCO and the vast majority of Japan's corporate and governmental leadership. IF Japan is going to pull itself out of this mess, and emerge a stronger/better country, this mentality has to die, once and for all. People must demand better of their "leaders".

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The company is responsible because they blew-off the warnings of a tsunami-induced disaster two years ago. (See my previous post for the article reference)

I DON'T think the president should be fired right now because that just muddies the responsibility-chain when legal proceedigs DO start. If some new president has to be brought in, how much blame do you assign him in the coming months? There are so many posters here screaming about the current president doing "nothing", when what they really mean is the unrealistic, "He hasn't magically made this all go away yet!" What's he supposed to do... ORDER the radioactivity to stop emitting?! He is one man in the company and in all likelihood NOT a nuclear physicist. So what, exactly, has he as a person failed to do?

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it will be interesting to see how TEPCO will compensate....i think it should first measure the amount of radiation absorbed or inhaled by an individual, calculate the likely effect in 30-50yrs, then pay. This should be added to any inconveniences caused and losses in terms of time, money, pychological and physical damage. If somebody was having a business or an income, this should be paid in cash in arreas. etc, etc

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I said before that this tsunami was epic. People poo-pooed that. Uh. Well. It was epic.

Got to agree. The videos and the photos I've seen does indeed look like some footage from the movie "2012".

Another thing is that many people just assume that Tsunami=just big waves where a huge wall can withhold it. Looking at the videos and pictures, I'm not sure about this one.

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So what, exactly, has he as a person failed to do?

Fadaomor, you must have been in Japan too long, and have forgotten what leadership looks like, and what is expected of leaders. At a MINIMUM he should have immediately set up a task force of TEPCO and outside experts with himself as chairman, and that ALL decisions regarding the process of getting control of the situation came from this group/him. This would have established a clear chain of command and provided some sense of personal responsibility -- the buck stops with him. Instead, he fled the scene for three days because he was stressed and offers nothing but apoogies and platitudes. He still has not said he is taking responsibility, just that he'll work hard. Please stop excusing incompetence.

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herefornow at 05:25 AM JST - 14th April. At a MINIMUM he should have immediately set up a task force of TEPCO and outside experts with himself as chairman, and that ALL decisions regarding the process of getting control of the situation came from this group/him.

Maybe TEPCO had something to hide to the outside world. The question of whether Unit 4 was being used to enrich uranium, the first step of the process leading to extraction of weapons-grade fissionable material. Was the nuclear industry and government agencies scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants?

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sfjp330 - Even if Shimizu resigns and Japan government had to get into the act, the takeover will become more of a problem because of TEPCO's financial wounds.

Removing Shimizu is the first step in restoring the peoples and the fianancial industries faith in TEPCO's ability to fix TEPCO's "current" problems without letting concerns over who or what Shimizu and friends are protecting/hiding get in the way. Out with the old, in with the new and let's get the job done. There is no upside to keeping Shimizu.

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I did extensive, exhaustive research on earthquakes during the Koizumi Period, and fundamentally, the series from Klein2 is incisive reporting. Klein2 clearly understands the workings of the physical world in contrast to the "service industry". It is the scale of the damage that results in someone having to take blame - TEPCO Pres. is facing the same situation the Director of FEMA faced during the Katrina Disaster around New Orleans. Both were unprecedented disasters, but someone usually takes the fall.

For readers of JT, those who need to understand the disaster better, Klein2 has laid out a vital aspect of the situation.

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stevecpfc at 09:37 PM JST - 13th April The heads of Tepco should be facing criminal charges as soon as possible.

This is absolutely true. Anyone in a position of authority at TEPCO should be prosecuted to the maximum. Saying that they could not predict a huge tsunami is nonsense. They were warned over and over, and chose to ignore the warnings, perhaps hoping that the big one would occur after their time. Well the time has come, and you have to pay the piper. History, and the Japanese who came centuries before, has shown, in writing, in stone, that another big one would come. If you are putting nuke plants by the ocean, you have to plan for that. Otherwise, you are criminally negligent, at best.

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apecnetworks:

For readers of JT, those who need to understand the disaster better, Klein2 has laid out a vital aspect of the situation.

This is underestimating the readers of JT, and very condescending. I think we understand all too well.

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Yeah. Fadamor. I have not looked at your link yet, but I see all of this, "I warned TEPCO" stuff and I think of all the times I have been warned of extremely low probability events.

And I repeat, what action were they seriously expected to take? Japan went through deregulation fairly recently, and you know, they had a lot going on. Spend another billion on a little bit more protection? How are the shareholders going to take that? Well, the shareholders are getting punished.

Someone walked into my office two years ago saying, "Hey, you need a solar power system." I told him to get lost. Like 10 times. What would you have done? What nagging warnings are you ignoring right this minute? I am ignoring about 10, having to do with weight loss, bicycle helmets, sodium, and spicy foods... someday I will really really regret it.

I don't like the guy, but either he is human or he is not.

And maybe the BEST starting point in the argument should be, if it were 11.0 instead of 9.0, there would be no argument at all. So at what point are we splitting hairs with talk of "warnings"? 3.11 was going to be a bad day no matter what countermeasures TEPCO chose.

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Nigelboy, that is what the nerds are saying. Planet cracking quake. Worst tsunami since caveman days.

If someone had actually predicted this, nobody would have believed them. An especially galling bit is that it essentially came out of nowhere. No asteroid strike. No countdown. All countermeasures everywhere failed. Onagawa was spared the tsunami because it was on higher ground.

I said to my wife, after we got the kids home from school, and things were quiet on 3.11. I said, "everything's changed". She said, "what do you mean?" I said, "everything... just everything." And that was days before I knew what was going on in the real world.

It is a new era. Welcome.

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Points I ponder:

Let's say that TEPCO is found "guilty" of whatever. From now on, everything will HAVE to be designed to withstand a 10.0 quake. Just everything, because otherwise, well, you are a criminal. Well, um... that is nuts. Considering the law of diminishing returns, and that a 10.0 quake is many many times stronger than a 9.0, we are saying, as a society, that we want everything to be a hundred times more expensive. All of a sudden, I can't afford my house, or even an apartment. Forget shinkansens because they are just too UNSAFE! Imagine. I can't. We are going to have to ignore this to move on as a society. Sounds crazy, but enforced denial might be the only way we survive.

Shouldn't Tokyo consumers feel responsible for what is happening in Fukushima? Once you peel back all the layers of "society", Tepco was working to satisfy the needs of Tokyo with this facility. All those shiny vending machines.

I have "gamed" the Fukushima Daiichi scenario over and over, and I still can't see how they could do much better than they have. The 2020 hindsight really has to go back years to change history and improve the situation meaningfully, which really emphasizes that this is not a problem with one person or one company.

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bcbrownboy at 06:38 AM JST - 14th April

apecnetworks:

For readers of JT, those who need to understand the disaster better, Klein2 has laid out a vital aspect of the situation.

This is underestimating the readers of JT, and very condescending. I think we understand all too well."

The reporting in the States is subpar, and I believe many readers of JT are sitting the fence on what is happening. Klein2 is conveying info he/she received from "experts".

Moderator: Back on topic please. The subject is the TEPCO president's press conference.

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If someone had actually predicted this, nobody would have believed them.

Klein2, I have no idea why you are on here spouting your myths. Are you a lawyer for TEPCO? This was not even the worst tsunami since the Meiji Restoration, and the event, and impact on Fukushima Daiichi, was predicted by multiple sources, with plenty of documented evidence of that. TEPCO was well aware of the risk they were taking, a risk that could not be justified by ANY risk assessment process. They also were not avoiding spending huge amounts of money, they were avoiding spending the trivial amount of money needed to get in line with IAEA guidelines issued after Indonesia. They did all that because TEPCO is nothing more than an asset stripping operation whose job is to send as much of the cash flow as possible to the shareholders, which they do by not spending required amounts on safety and maintenance.

Also, and I will go REALLY slow here, about this idiotic asteroid thing that comes up all the time. The March 11th earthquake was what is known as a SUBDUCTION ZONE EARTHQUAKE. These quakes are the strongest kind of earthquake, and they occur in a continuous cycle and are the easiest type of earthquake to understand. Not predictable in a human time frame, but inevitable geologically, and that is now understood scientifically. They are not one-off events, the process for the next one on that fault has already started. If you believe that the asteroid, after crashing into earth then gets up, flies back up to space, and whizzes around for a few billion years and then crashes into earth again, then you have a comparison.

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errata

I looked at my notes. I think I wrote: the waves reached 2.5 km inland in some places. My notes say that "waves were still 3 m deep in some places 2.5 km inland"

I think I wrote: Preparations were for 3-5 m and were overwhelmed. My notes say that "preparations were for 5-6 m but waves were 6-8 m."

There you go.

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You can not take money to the grave, it is better to help all the peapel then to dye with all that money.

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For the doubters, here is a headline from the Daily Yomiuri on Sunday, April 17, 2011:

TEPCO ignored tsunami warnings for years

This newspaper is quite conservative, so if it's in this press, the situation is probably even worse.

TEPCO is criminally responsible!

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