• Chikushino, Fukuoka

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Regarding the Dec. 10 front-page Kyodo article “Tepco mulls 10% rate hike tied to ’13 Niigata reactor restart“: Is this 10 percent figure based on the government’s intended consumption tax hike to 10 percent? The figure makes it even harder to distinguish between those government officials who have been profiting from their decades-old collusion with Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Equally disturbing is the way that Tepco has taken pride in a disaster that its cost-saving greediness did nothing except exacerbate. It has claimed that its facility (at Fukushima) did well to withstand the March 11 earthquake, implying that the tsunami devastation could never have been predicted.

From falsifying reports and concealing previous nuclear narrow-misses to substituting erroneous for actual data, Tokyo’s electricity monopoly has a half-century history of subterfuge and disinformation. Its only bottom line has been making its own bottom line as lucrative for itself as possible. Its approach has been to overestimate operation costs by hundreds of billions of yen and seek the cheapest and flimsiest safeguards in defiance of its 2008 in-house report revelations that a 10-meter-plus tsunami was a distinct threat. They settled for a tsunami projection half that high to ensure bargain-basement defenses. Japanese power plants have dodged any meaningful government control for decades.

Just over a month ago, Tepco was demanding a 15 percent hike in power prices in an attempt to recoup profits, and a government panel in October announced that Tepco would need trillions of yen to get back on its feet — once again showing that the dividing line between the state and big business is as fuzzy as always.

Whatever final hikes are settled on, it will be the public footing the bill again, while self-serving coveting and inexcusable waste and danger have become the accepted norms of a society rotten to the very core of its political parties.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

david wood

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