Thursday, May 05, 2011

More on My Take on TEPCO’s Post-Nuclear Disaster Liability

A friend of mine wrote in to tell me that according to a media report, plans are afoot for a 50/50 split between TEPCO and the government for liability stemming from the nuclear disaster under Article 16 of the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage. However, he’s looked at the TEPCO website and thinks that it’s still looking to be absolved altogether somewhere down the line under Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Act. The following is my response, lightly edited. I left a couple of embarrassing details visibly edits because I thought it was funny that I’d totally forgotten that I’d blogged it. At least I didn’t imagine it all in the still of the night.

It’s about time.

I made the argument early on—the SSJ Forum, where predictably no one picked up on it—that TEPCO directors could face shareholder lawsuits if they did not pursue the Article 3.1 route. And if I were a hedge fund holding TEPCO shares, I would be afraid of being sued by my investors if I didn't file that lawsuit against the TEPCO directors. Now, if I were a shareholder of that little old bank in Illinois that had put some of its money in that hedge fund... Remember how those little old banks would hold the entire deal in ransom during the 90s bailout negotiations?

As for the 50/50 split, it's been at least a couple of weeks since Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano said that the government and TEPCO were jointly and severally liable (I think that's essentially what he meant by 真正連帯債務) and maybe a week[couple of days] (ed. HAHA I’d forgotten that I’d blogged it two nights ago) since he mentioned, almost in passing, that it would be a 50/50 split. I was surprised on both occasions when the media failed to take note. It's probably hard for people who don't go to the source to realize that the power utility that everyone loves to vilify is facing strict liability. It would be difficult IMHO to prove negligence, since TEPCO had jumped all the legal hoops up to the Fukushima disaster. Government negligence should be easier to prove, since it was the one who decided not to require more precautions despite some expert opinion to the contrary. With power comes responsibility. But 50/50? I wonder where that came from. Surprising to hear a lawyer—Edano—make that concession before the inevitable negotiations with TEPCO. I wonder if the fix is already in.

All in all, I'd go for Article 3, paragraph 1; it heals you, whereas Article 16 only keeps you alive, and who wants to be on life support for the next 20 years…Oh, Dr. Kerkevorian...


Martin J Frid said...

But it is not just TEPCO, it is relevant to every other utility here that runs nuclear reactors. Chubu just got told by Kan that its Hamaoka reactors should be shut down. Good.

Anonymous said...

Yet it is not Cheapest Diablo 3 goldsimply TEPCO, it truly is tightly related to every other power in this article which goes atomic reactors. Chubu just became relayed through Kan that the Hamaoka reactors oughtgw2 gold to be power down. Excellent.