• Kyodo

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Toshiba Corp. tried Wednesday to reassure shareholders over its nuclear business amid uncertain prospects due to the crisis in Fukushima Prefecture, vowing to increase the safety of its atomic plants.

The electronics company, which delivered reactors to the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant, said it has set up a team to address the crisis in support of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Regarding existing plants, “We’ll deal with permanent improvement in accordance with safety standards that will be revised based on analysis” of the crisis, Toshiba President Norio Sasaki said.

“We’ll also develop next-generation nuclear reactors with high security,” Sasaki told a shareholders’ meeting that drew a record 5,215 participants.

On building new nuclear plants, the company will proceed by checking the situations of customers in each country, Sasaki said.

He said the company is emphasizing renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar and wind power, and sought shareholders’ support for its plan to promote a “smart-community” business involving creation of diverse infrastructure systems, including energy, water and transportation.

Responding to a question from one investor about whether the company feels it holds any social responsibility regarding the nuclear crisis, Corporate Senior Executive Vice President Masashi Muromachi said, “We believe it’s our social responsibility to make utmost efforts to contain (the crisis) at an early date.”

On the possibility of facing damages claims from the crisis, Muromachi said liability is concentrated on the operator of a nuclear plant based on the nuclear damage compensation law.

Regarding its goal of securing orders to build 39 reactors globally by fiscal 2015 with sales totaling ¥1 trillion, Muromachi said, “Achievement could be delayed for several years.”

Mizuho Securities Co.’s shareholders meanwhile approved the proposed terms of a stock swap aimed at turning the firm into a wholly owned unit of Mizuho Corporate Bank, paving the way for the brokerage to pull out from stock exchanges on Aug. 29, sources said.

The securities house’s stockholders will get 1.48 shares in Mizuho Financial Group Inc., which wholly owns Mizuho Corporate, for one share in Mizuho Securities.

The procedure is a step toward implementing Mizuho Financial Group’s plan to turn Mizuho Securities, Mizuho Investors Securities Co. and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. into wholly owned subsidiaries, and then merging the two securities firms with the aim of enhancing group management efficiency.

The Mizuho group is believed to be trying to catch up with its rivals, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., through the reorganization.

NEC Corp. President Nobuhiro Endo apologized to shareholders for not distributing dividends for the first time in two years due to poor earnings.

While noting the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Endo said at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting, “I offer my deep apologies as we were unable to achieve our plan.”

Facing discontent from shareholders over the company’s business performance, Chairman Kaoru Yano said the electronics giant has slashed executive officers’ pay. He vowed to take the downturn seriously and expressed hope for a rebound this year. NEC fell into the red for the first time in two years in fiscal 2010.

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