OSAKA (Kyodo) Yosaku Fuji, president of Kansai Electric Power Co., said Friday he will step down in June to take responsibility for last year’s fatal steam accident at one of its nuclear power plants.

Fuji, 67, will also step down as chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan by June but will stay on the board of Kepco.

Vice President Shosuke Mori, 64, will succeed Fuji as president of Japan’s second-largest electric utility. He joined the company in 1963 and has held his current post since June 2001.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s investigative commission is looking into the Aug. 9, 2004, rupture of a reactor-cooling system pipe at Kepco’s Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. In the accident, high temperature steam erupted from the pipe, killing five inspection workers and injuring six others.

The ministry commission is expected to say in its final report due out at the end of the month that Kepco should be held accountable for the incident at the plant.

Fuji has decided to step down just as Kepco has mapped out, at his initiative, a package of measures aimed at preventing similar accidents.

The pipe that burst had not been inspected since the reactor started operations in the mid-1970s.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.