JAPAN AFTERSHOCKS PUT FOCUS ON TEPCO

 
Marion Dakers
THE ONE month anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami was yesterday marked by powerful aftershocks, which briefly cut power to the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plants and 220,000 households.

A magnitude 6.6 tremor in eastern Japan halted work at Fukushima, where engineers are still pumping water into three damaged reactors to stave off a fresh meltdown, and coincided with a new government warning to evacuate certain areas within 20km of the plant.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano said children, pregnant women and people in hospitals should consider leaving the areas, but added that this was long-term advice and no immediate evacuation was necessary.

Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of Fukushima, could face special losses of up to 2 trillion yen (£14.4bn) this year due to compensation claims and ongoing repair work, according to a research note put out by JP Morgan.

Shares in Tepco have lost three-quarters of their value since the massive quake and tsunami on 11 March, amid complaints about the firm’s lack of communication on the scale of the disaster.

JP Morgan said Tepco could face 554bn yen of extraordinary losses in the financial year ended last month for scrapping the crippled plant and bringing thermal power plants back on line.

Analysts at the bank said the company could also face 2 trillion yen in damages claims from those affected by the Fukushima crisis, unless the government grants an exception to its liability.