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Tepco expects 1,700 to quit by March

Kyodo

By the end of next March, Tokyo Electric Power Co. expects 1,700 workers will have taken voluntary retirement since the 2011 start of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant calamity, amid uncertain business prospects and pay cuts, according to Tepco documents.

Employees from the business strategy division at Tepco’s head office as well as nuclear engineers account for around 40 percent of the retirees, raising fears that the loss of personnel could affect the utility’s core activities.

By age, junior and midlevel employees younger than 40 years old make up around 70 percent of all retirees.

With annual salaries having been cut by 20 to 30 percent and uncertainty over the company’s future, Tepco plans to include measures to improve the treatment of employees in a business turnaround plan it is currently revising.

According to the documents obtained Monday by Kyodo News, voluntary retirees jumped from 134 in fiscal 2010 to 465 in the year the nuclear crisis started.

The figure reached 712 in fiscal 2012 and Tepco estimates that around 560 will leave the company voluntarily in the current fiscal year through March 2014.

As part of its cost-cutting efforts, Tepco is seeking to reduce its workforce by 3,600 to 36,000 in two years from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013. Although the company is likely to meet this target, it is losing skilled personnel in core divisions, which could further complicate its decommissioning work.

Tepco needs massive funds to compensate people and companies affected by the nuclear crisis and to carry out the decades-long decommissioning of the Fukushima plant’s crippled reactors.