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TEPCO head baffled by criticism of utility's role in nuclear disaster

48 Comments
By Aaron Sheldrick and Linda Sieg

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48 Comments
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As long as the gap of perception closes, anything along lines of the 'actual' doesn't matter.

This guy seems confident and slick.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

what is baffling? they neglected safety checks with those in charge and those checking turning a blind eye. gee whiz, i have to check the dictionary but that may be a sort of definition of collusion. yep, just checked and there is was. an agreement between two parties sometimes illegal therefore secretive........

11 ( +12 / -1 )

"You can destroy trust in a single day but to rebuild it takes time" the 59-year-old Yale-educated president of TEPCO, Naomi Hirose said

Ironic statement, because it's the complete opposite here in Japan, trust is instantly bought here, and the average public never let go of it. Tepco, LDP, Yukijurushi snow brand, JA and their solar panel scam, 90% of Japanese doctors, JR West, Japan Sumo Association, Acupuncture, etc etc.

I could name 50 companies, political parties, products, people etc that the Japanese people have thoughtlessly put all their trust and money into for years and years, only to be screwed over time and time again and still come back for more.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

On Monday, an estimated 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters took to the streets in Tokyo. This is probably news to readers of Japantoday. For some reason JT chose not to mention it.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

Duh! Idiot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It was the top story on Japan Today on Monday evening.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The article states his education but I'm guessing from his naievety that he must've dropped out. How can he be baffled? It's quite simple. Tepco cut corners on safety and paid the price but in so doing created a desaster larger than anything before which is still on going. Nice going mr high salaried, high bonus highly educated man. Have a little more understanding, maybe my 4 yr old could help explain it to you. He has his crayons in bright colours that may be good. Also noticed that the demonstrations were largely skipped over by inadequate gov approval seeking news media.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

This guy is living in a pretty pink bubble. Clearly incompetent for his position. And very dangerous.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

He has worked in the company for over 40 years...his perception of what is real and what is TEPCO is obviously warped.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Wow, he must be as stupid as he sounds.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I,m baffled about how TEPCO can be baffled by public criticism . What do they want a medal? These guys just never change do they?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

What is baffling is that Tepco didn't bring in an outsider that isn't hidebound to the status quo at the company. He seems more like a PR guy - a weak emperor completely willingness to drive through a corporate agenda without questioning whether it is in the public or wider interests.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

He spoke in fluent English for 15 minutes, before answering questions in his native Japanese....

So he gave a few soundbites about trust and impressed the clapping masses that didn't have a clue what he was talking about .

This guy has spent too long in Tepco, resulting in a tenuous grasp of reality.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I wasn't worried about reactor 4 but now I am.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sadly whoever stands up as a figurehead for TEPCO will get bashed.

My guess is that TEPCO and other power companies do not do and have never done Safety First per se. That is probably unrealistic.

The reality must be closer to a promise to the government that whatever goes wrong, and plenty does go wrong on a daily basis, they have the will and the workforce to fix it.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

On what cloud does this guy live, and what exactly did he smoked before this statement? To be surprised that millions of people hate you after you changed their lives to the worse shows lack of proper basic judgement.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The nuclear disaster should never have happened when it could have so easily been prevented for a lot less cost than the trillions and trillions the taxpayer will now shell out over the next, 30, 50 and even 100 years.

Not a single member of the ex TEPCO board has been held accountable for their decisions and the lack of action on important safety issues at the Fukushima plant. The ex president and 20 board members were dismissed with a golden handshake of $25 million. Recently 8 of them were offered well paid jobs in other companies which TEPCO have strakes.

http://japandailypress.com/resigning-tepco-executives-safely-land-cushy-gigs-at-other-companies-224983

No ex director or director of TEPCO is not serving time, as much time as it takes to make the atomic plant safe.

In the event of a major nuclear disaster, the maximum liability for the power companies is ¥120 billion, and even the insurance companies are not required to pay up for this "Act of God!". 

Compare that with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company itself estimated it would cost about $41 billion in the weeks after the explosion to account for all of its costs, including cleanup, compensating businesses, and paying fines and for ecological damage.

I haven't read a single sentence about TEPCO being fined. I don't understand why TEPCO is allowed to stay in business, except for dealing with the nuclear disaster. Probably, TEPCO will be allowed to restart their 7 reactor plant in Niigata. TEPCO should be banned from ever running any atomic plant.

Most of the nuclear refugee's are still waiting for compensation from TEPCO. The 24 directors of TEPCO receive a combined pay of ¥723 million. A further 9 auditors receive a combined pay of ¥141 million.

Not a single person involved in the nuclear decision chain, including METI, NISA, and NSC have been held accountable for their responsibilities in helping to cause the nuclear disaster.

20 ( +29 / -9 )

it is baffling the he finds it baffling.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

“We will go back and read the report again more carefully and if it turns out the facts are different to the facts we have presented then we might adjust our conclusions.”

Hahaha.... yeah. My guess is that TEPCO's conclusions will be much along the same lines as those that led to the disaster being as bad as it is. Clueless indeed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

baffled? baffled means you don't understand why? If you don't understand why people are angry then you are not fit to run the company, how can you not understand or even remember the mess you made for Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

TEPCO head baffled by criticism of utility's role in nuclear disaster

This guy is totally brain dead if he cannot understand.

How come he gets the top job ?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There must be something about Yale graduates....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well said, Zichi, well said!

As for Mr. Hirose, if he is baffled by the criticism of TEPCO, then I can only conclude he is a psychopath. Yale is good at making them.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Actually he is just another guy in a country full of them that dedicated their lives to their companies in the (false) belief that the corporation that they work for is above and beyond reproach and the peons that count on them for what they produce are just arrogant, and ignorant as well, of what is good for them.

I sincerely believe that this guy has lived in a bubble his entire life. To get where he is now, (havent checked) he had to have graduated from a "top" university here, knew the "right" people, brown-nosed and smooched the right folks, and did everything by the book.

He, I do believe as well, is probably truly shocked that the general population does not see things as he does, and more than likely is saying behind closed doors that the peon peasants don't know what they are talking about.

Arrogant fool!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This guy would appear to be a thoroughly connected insider.

the 59-year-old Yale-educated president of TEPCO

Yale, home of the sociopathic secret society Skull and Bones, of which three generations of the New England political dynasty incuding Prescott George George and Jeb Bush.

Now them's some good o' boys....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yale-educated? That says it all. Clueless.

5 ( +4 / -0 )

the fact that he is baffled IS the problem. TEPCO refuses to acknowledge and continues to deny that they have done anything wrong when it is quite clear that they had foreknowledge of the danger and didn't take any action in order to save MONEY. now they are raising electric rates so they can pay for bonuses? what the F#$%&! what's so baffling? what has TEPCO done to be entitled to bonuses? as he's been admitted to yale, he's not stupid. its obviously he's trying to deflect criticism without admitting guilt so TEPCO can save MONEY. TEPCO should have been put into bankruptcy. they are already morally bankrupt. TEPCO gambled and they lost, now they should pay.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

WTF...is he on drugs? TEPCO causes a monumental disaster and he can't understand why folk's are upset...he should be ordered to put his head to the ground and say sorry for the remainder of his days.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Truly, utterly, STUPID BEYOND BELIEF

I say higher wage cuts, bonuses, pensions CUT(& past ones returned) & for christs sake I want some of these a-holes on trial & put in the slammer!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The words are all there, but this story is far too kind to Mr. Hirose. This how I would have edited this story:

In a scathing report issued this month, an investigative panel appointed by the Diet concluded that the last year's Fukushima disaster was preventable and resulted from "collusion" among Tokyo Electric Power Co, its regulators and the government. (TEPCO has been) lampooned for its inept response to the reactor meltdowns, and denigrated for its perceived arrogance.

(In response,) 59-year-old Yale-educated Naomi Hirose, the new head of the company at the center of Japan's nuclear disaster, said on Thursday he was baffled by fierce criticism of the firm where he has worked nearly 40 years and hoped to rebuild public trust but offered no clear idea how to do so.

Grilled over what critics say is TEPCO's tendency to cover things up, a common charge against a company that admitted in 2007 that it had faked safety reports and hidden defects at its reactors for decades, Hirose acknowledged that there was "a very large perception gap" between the company's view of itself and the way the public sees it. "We have to close that gap," he said.

Fukushima's spent fuel pool No. 4 has been a source of international concern because they are exposed to the atmosphere after one of the explosions that hit the station tore the reactor building roof off and caused its walls to tilt. That was "quite a shock for us," Hirose said, because the company assumed its reinforcement work has been sufficient. ...we should make more efforts to remove people's anxieties and concerns," he said.

Perhaps a nearly 40-year veteran of a corrupt company is not the best candidate to clean up that company. In a matter of hours, Mr. Hirose has established his pattern of response to this ongoing crisis: Regardless of the amount or quality of evidence presented to the contrary, just pretend everything is fine; blame the victims/critics of your company's crimes for possessing unfounded or irrational beliefs. Dear Mr. Hirose, if you truly want to "remove people's anxieties and concerns," start acting like a human being who actually cares more about people than profits. Stop trying to change the "perception" gap. Acknowledge your wrong-doing, and start taking care of the people your company has harmed. Finally, stop pretending that everything is fine. Everything is not fine.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Baffled? What over what country has his amakudari cloud been sitting on?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

he was baffled by fierce criticism of the firm where he has worked nearly 40 years and hoped to rebuild public trust but offered no clear idea how to do so.

Then he is the perfect Japan Inc. "leader". He is completely out of touch with reality and has no idea on how to fix the problem. What happens when ou promote on seniority/loyalty and not upsetting the Wa. But I bet he can give you the names of the ten top places he and his other directors like to go to to un-wind.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

TEPCO, if you want to regain the public's trust, then you will announce that you will be giving up on nuclear immediately. Frankly that's what the people want. If Germany's companies can do it then why can't Japan's.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

TEPCO head baffled by criticism of utility's role in nuclear disaster

OMFG you've got to be kidding me, right?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This moron thinks Tepco did nothing wrong!?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is probably important to note that this press conference in itself was a sham. It was explained numerous times by the host of the conference and president of foreign correspondents club (Georges Baumgartner) how it took 16 months to finally bring Hirose to this table and that the fccj would like to maintain good relations with him going forward, a remark that infuriated some of the journalists present. It is assumed that the questioners were carefully selected prior to the conference to the agreement of TEPCO. Thus, many should agree that the questions could have been much harsher and more direct and specific, leading many to wonder whether there was any point in holding the conference in the first place if it were a mere friendly introduction of the new President. Frustration expressed among many local journalists on the web. The only major achievement may have been bringing out the "baffled" remark from Hirose which is now widely reported everywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Of course, it is a question whether we can regain trust,” said Hirose, who joined the company in 1976. “It gave me renewed resolve that we should make more efforts to remove people’s anxieties and concerns,” he said.

As of now, the only way to regain some (not all) trust and reduce (not remove) people's anxiety is to openly declare that TEPCO is changing its electricity generation and distribution proposition to that of renewables and other forms, rather than nuke electricity. As long as your only pre-occupation is to search for invisible earthquake fault lines, arrogantly restart as many nuke plants as possible against wishes of the people, hyke electricity prices as if the nuclear fall out wasnt enough punishment, boast of safety of your nuke plants, theres no credibility to salvage as the myth of nuke safety was bursted once and for good.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"he was baffled by fierce criticism of the firm where he has worked nearly 40 years and hoped to rebuild public trust but offered no clear idea how to do so."

Good thing they put a baffled dude with no ideas of what to do beyond visiting a high school at the helm. Nice work. And glad to see that a guy with a Yale education with over 40 years working at that same company cannot come up with anything more concrete than being baffled.

His parents must be proud.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mike Critchley and just goes to show that graduating from top Uni's doesnt guarantee brains, intelligence or the ability to think.

The guy is as dumb as a bag of rocks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The new head of the company at the center of Japan’s nuclear disaster said on Thursday he was baffled by fierce criticism of the firm where he has worked nearly 40 years and hoped to rebuild public trust but offered no clear idea how to do so.

I think it's great that they allow people with severe mental retardation to be heads of companies here. Care in the community isn't as good as this in other civilized countries.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is this guy serious?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Look... to add total insult to injury TEPCO now has to raise electricity rates by over 8% starting in September.... they wanted over 10% and that still is not enough. The citizens of Japan have to pay for the mistakes caused by a government that is too close to big business.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Give the guy a break!

Quote: When pressed, he added: “We have read the report and seen this word ‘collusion.’ However, on what basis, or for what reason, this word is being used we have not been able to fully grasp,” he said.

Maybe they don't teach the meaning of "collusion" at Yale English Academy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So many good comments from the JT community in this discussion, and a refreshing absence of astro turf. But I guess that will change soon?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just gave this whole story a second think, and realized that as TEPCO see the ex. PM Kan as the major source of the problems leading up to the nuclear meltdown. It is only natural that they are baffled by allegations that there might have been any wrong doing on their part.

Now all this guy have to do is hunker down and wait for re elections to see which of their brown envelope bets on red and black will be the one that pays of.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All of these stupid imbeciles from Tokyo Electric should be fired! Ok, maybe not fired, but make them work for almost free for the next 10 years so little by little they can get a CLUE about how much pain and suffering Tokyo Electric to FUKUSHIMA and to many other parts of JAPAN!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If he is baffled,he might as well save time, money and just retire, because he has no hope of overcoming this problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

quite so!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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