Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scores of ex-bureaucrats landed cushy jobs at TEPCO, linked to lax nuclear safety rules - 27th Sept 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had more than 50 retired bureaucrats working for the utility firm as of the end of August -- a widespread practice in Japan called "amakudari," or "descent from heaven" -- the Mainichi has learned, and former bureaucrats acknowledged that cozy ties between the government and utility firms were a key factor behind the country's lax rules governing nuclear power generation.

There were 47 former bureaucrats from the central government working at TEPCO as "temporary employees" as of the end of August, and there were more than 50 such "amakudari" employees if posts of "advisors" filled by former vice ministers were included, the Mainichi has learned.

The former bureaucrats came from various government ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is in charge of overseeing the nuclear industry, the Foreign Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the National Police Agency, and the Japan Coast Guard. Experts attribute the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant partly to flaws in safety regulations, and a former bureaucrat who used to be engaged in atomic energy administration said, "The cozy ties (between the government and utility firms) led to lax safety regulations." Read More