April-September resignations at Tepco double to 350

JIJI

The number of workers leaving Tokyo Electric Power Co. nearly doubled to some 350 in the April-September quarter from about 180 a year earlier, according to company sources.

Two-thirds of them were 40 or younger.

The surge is believed to reflect anxiety among Tepco employees about the company’s future.

“In addition to deteriorating working conditions, I am worried about what will happen to the company,” one employee said.

The figure may soon exceed that for all of fiscal 2011, when 460 employees, more than three times higher than usual, left the company.

Of the employees who quit in the first half of fiscal 2012, some 160 were aged 30 or younger, some 80 were between the ages of 31 and 40, and the rest were 41 or older.

Tepco plans to resume recruitment of new graduates in fiscal 2014, but the utility is concerned that it may become harder to pass on required knowledge if more young workers quit.

Tepco was effectively nationalized after it accepted public funds from the government to finance work to bring the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima No. 1 plant under control and compensate the people and companies affected.

It has since taken measures to streamline operations, including skipping summer bonus payments.

However, concern about the future has grown because of the cost to Tepco of decontamination. Whether the utility will be required to shoulder the full cost has yet to be decided, with discussions on revising the law on compensation for nuclear damage making little progress.

It also appears unlikely for now that Tepco will be able to restart its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture.