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Tokyo Electric Power Co. is ready to accept full liberalization of the power market, company president Nobuya Minami said Thursday.

“We will positively examine the issue of expanding the extent of the (power) liberalization, which will finally cover consumers,” Minami said at a subcommittee meeting of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, an advisory panel to the minister for economy, trade and industry.

However, he cautioned that consumers’ responsibility and the stability of power supplies should be considered before fully liberalizing the market.

Japan’s major utilities share Minami’s concerns, said a spokesman for the Federation of Electric Power Companies, which Minami chairs.

Major utilities are opposed to full liberalization of the market, saying it would destabilize power supplies.

The central government partially liberalized the country’s retail power market in March 2000, allowing nonutilities to sell electricity to large-lot users. The liberalized market now accounts for about one-third of Japan’s overall power market.

Since November, the subpanel has been discussing ways to further liberalize the power industry, including the liberalization and the management of power-transmission networks.

The panel is expected to compile a final report in July.

During Thursday’s meeting, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry submitted to the advisory panel key issues for further discussion. The key issues include how to coordinate the construction and operation of power-transmission networks while enhancing fair competition in the industry.

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