• Kamogawa, Chiba

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Except for the haste in which Tokyo Electric Power Co. wishes to proceed, it does not come as a surprise that Tepco will increase the business rate for corporate users of electricity. Tepco’s gain, our pain. Households are not far behind.

The belt-tightening over the summer does not seem to have been appreciated. I work in a hospital. Hospitals are huge consumers of electricity by the very nature of their 24 hour, high-technology endeavor.

A 17 percent increase in the business electricity rate will also apply to hospitals that are already struggling, many having suffered negative cash flows for several years now. The consumption tax increase will be the fatal blow for many hospitals.

Hospitals with operating margins above 5 percent are exceptional, and the vast majority are servicing huge debt. The corporate electricity rate will affect this margin, and going from 5 to 8 percent on the consumption tax — let alone to 10 percent as planned — will wipe it out for those just barely surviving.

Get ready for surgery using a flashlight and a room lit by candlelight and heated by a kerosene heater. As for air conditioning, forget about it. This could not come at a worse time for an industry that provides such vital services to our citizens. Time to rethink some exemptions.

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.

john wocher

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