• Kyodo

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The mayor of Namie, a town near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, criticized the former president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday for stepping down from his post too early.

“Don’t you think that stepping down after containing the accident would have been the right thing to do?” Tamotsu Baba asked Masataka Shimizu during a meeting in Namie’s temporary office in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture.

Shimizu replied: “I chose to resign as a way of taking managerial responsibility. I will be in a different position, but I will support the new management and make the utmost efforts to help contain the crisis and the compensation efforts.”

The meeting was also attended by Toshio Nishizawa, who replaced Shimizu as Tepco’s president Tuesday. They were on a two-day visit to the prefecture to offer apologies to the mayors of 11 municipalities affected by the nuclear crisis.

Shimizu and Nishizawa met with the leaders of six municipalities Thursday, where some of the evacuated residents complained about the compensation.

New ministers to visit

Kyodo

Ryu Matsumoto, minister in charge of reconstruction, and Goshi Hosono, minister for nuclear accidents, will visit prefectures affected by the March disasters over the weekend for the first time since assuming their new posts earlier this week, they said Friday.

Matsumoto is slated to visit the three tsunami-ravaged prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. He plans to meet governors and municipal leaders to exchange opinions on reconstruction measures, he told a news conference.

Hosono will visit Fukushima Prefecture to assess the current situation of work to contain the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and meet with Gov. Yuhei Sato, he said in a separate briefing.

“Unless you get in touch directly, it is difficult to visualize the workers’ mental and physical situations. It is the government’s main task to support those on the front line, and it will be very significant to see them in person,” he said, adding their work circumstances will get tougher in the summer.

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