Tepco allows curious spectacle

Regarding the July 5 editorial “Irrational reactor restart plan“: I get another strange feeling. Japanese society is traditionally famous for esteeming calmness, orderliness and smoothness and for not wanting to show footage of strife, discord and disputation.

Actually the desire to avoid discord of any kind results in much prior consultation. In-house meetings at traditional Japanese companies do not go well without a lot of prior consultation. The higher ranked the managers are, the more elaborate and concrete are the prior consultations conducted by their subordinates to avoid unexpected results at a scheduled meeting. Tokyo Electric Power Co. is thought to have established an especially conservative organization in which this idea has been imbued.

So, seeing the news video of the recent meeting between the Tepco president and the governor of Niigata Prefecture made it hard to escape the conclusion that there were no prior consultations or explanations (aka nemawashi) in this case.

We know that to restart a nuclear reactor, it is necessary for an electric power company to get the approval of the prefectural governor who hosts the nuclear power station. It is curious that the Tepco president appeared to allow the meeting with the governor to go on in such a reckless and indiscriminate way.

Judging by his abrupt way of bargaining on this issue, I was left wondering whether the president is a master blackmailer or merely a layman in the ways of Japanese business.

shuichi john watanabe

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.