The big piece of news out of Japan is that 42 shareholders in the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) are suing the firm's directors over their role in the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. They want Tepco directors to pay damages of $67 billion claiming they failed to prepare for the meltdown. It coincides with US experts saying that the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan could have been prevented if Tepco had strengthened safety measures in accordance with international standards. But they didn't and everyone has paid the price.
Tepco's form on this has been appalling. AsiaOne news reports that Tepco has been delaying compensating victims of the disaster but has decided it won't compensate for houses and other properties outside the area, in principle, until the government issues a clear standard on compensation payments, and that's just as slow in coming. As Reuters reports, the Japanese government is reluctant to play along with Tepco until it has more say in Tepco's management. And that's not going to happen any time soon.
And even if shareholders do succeed, the banks will be there to prop up the company. The Wall Street Journal tells us that Japan's biggest banks are now preparing to extend Tepco the equivalent of billions of dollars of credit to see it through this crisis, all of which is apparently designed to help the company restructure itself. What a mess. This will take years to fix, and it will take years before people get compensated for the damage caused.