06/14/2011, 00.00
JAPAN
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Government to help Tepco pay damages for Fukushima

A bill was adopted this morning to provide financial aid to help company meet tens of thousands of damage claims. It still needs parliamentary approval.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Japanese government adopted a bill this morning to help the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) compensate tens of thousands of people affected by the crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant whose reactors were hit, first by an earthquake, and then by a tsunami, causing major damage to the environment and residents.

The cabinet decision sent Tepco shares soaring, up 18.59 per cent in Tokyo trade. For investors, the decision means that the company, which hitherto tittered on the brink of collapse, would be protected by the government.

However, “Investors are buying back Tepco shares believing that the government will pay a decent price for shares, but nothing concrete is known yet and it's too soon to make that assumption,' said Mitsuhige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.

The bill still needs to pass the hurdle of parliament, which has often slammed Tepco for its management of the crisis.

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