Yomiuri Shinbun (4/11/2012) reports:
It has been revealed that the Tokyo Metropolitan government, who was the third largest shareholder of TEPCO, is now the largest shareholder.
The largest shareholder Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company and the second largest shareholder Nippon Life Insurance Company both sold part of its TEPCO holdings by the end of March [end of the fiscal 2011]. The Tokyo Metropolitan government is not happy that TEPCO has raised electricity charges for large business customers, and has said it will exercise the shareholder's right to propose in the shareholders' meeting at the end of June, adding to increasingly confrontational situation between TEPCO and the Tokyo Metropolitan government.
At the end of September last year, the top three shareholders of TEPCO were: Dai-ichi Life Insurance (3.42%), Nippon Life Insurance (3.29%) and Tokyo Metropolitan government (2.66%).
Dai-ichi Life and Nippon Life proceeded to sell the shares as the share price of TEPCO significantly dropped.
Within the Tokyo Metropolitan government, Vice Governor Naoki Inose is particularly displeased with the rate hike for big businesses, and is demanding further cost cut from TEPCO. Mr. Inose said during the March Assembly, "We will exercise the shareholder's right to suggest, and express the opinion and make suggestions as the Tokyo Metropolitan government in the shareholders' meeting."
Well, confrontation goes only so far, I'm afraid. As the readers of this blog know, the Iwate disaster debris burning project of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara benefits TEPCO's subsidiary Tokyo Rinkai Recycle Power Company as it has been "selected" as the only company able to burn the flammable debris in a quantity specified in the bidding document (100 tonnes/day minimum).
Tokyo burns Iwate's debris which is less contaminated than Miyagi's at a dedicated industrial waste incinerator at the TEPCO subsidiary, and burns more contaminated Miyagi's debris at incineration plants that usually only burn household garbage and are situated in the middle of the residential areas. Make sense, doesn't it?
For this government to criticize TEPCO is like "the pot calling kettle black" to say it in English; to say it in Japanese, in literal translation, "eye mucus laughing at snot".
The Tokyo Metropolitan government is also said to be loaded with TEPCO's corporate bonds. The bonds issued by power companies are the debt secured by the company assets. TEPCO has 5 trillion yen (US$62 billion) in debt outstanding. A tiny drop in a bucket, though, compared to what the Japanese national government owes (depending on the statistics, anything from 600 trillion yen just counting the long-dated national bonds to over 1,000 trillion (or 1 quadrillion) yen counting in the debt by prefectures and municipalities, short-dated notes and debt secured by the government).