Trade chief Shinji Sato urged electric power utilities Feb. 6 to make every effort to reduce electricity costs so Japan can remain competitive in the global market.

He also said a breakup of power utilities should be studied because the issue is expected to be discussed at the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in May. Sato made the remarks during a breakfast meeting with representatives of the power industry. The presidents of the nation’s 10 electric power companies and those of the Japan Atomic Power Co. and Electric Power Development Co. attended the meeting. “Conditions surrounding energy differ from country to country,” Sato said. “But there is no denying that electricity in Japan is expensive by international standards.” He said the International Trade and Industry Ministry plans to send a delegation to the United States and Europe, which are undergoing drastic power industry deregulation.

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