Ongoing Bad News Forces TEPCO To Blame Computers; Still Unclear How Japan Will Fund Recovery Efforts
After first it was disclosed that TEPCO does not know the different between millions and thousands, the firm which is now set to be at least partially nationalized, has decided to blame its computers for the ongoing catastrophic handling of the Fukushima disaster. From NHK: "Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will review all data on radiation
leaked from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, citing errors
in a computer program. The utility says it found errors in the program used to analyze
radioactive elements and their levels, after some experts noted that
radiation levels of leaked water inside the plant were too high." In other words, every "fact" you have heard so far in the past 3 weeks - you can forget it. And since the BLS is coming, and the Nasdaq is about to fund (105% debt financed) the Japan government's multitrillion restoration effort, it will all be well from now.
The company and the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency say previously released data may have shown the levels of tellurium-129 and molybdenum-99 to be higher than they really were.
But they say that levels of iodine-131, which has a significant impact on humans and the environment, remain unchanged.
Tokyo Electric releases data on radioactivity inside the plant compound and in nearby seawater and soil.
The radioactive substances are believed to be coming from damaged nuclear fuel rods.
The data is crucial for identifying the source of radioactive leaks and assessing their impact on the environment.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has told the company to find out why the errors occurred and to take steps to prevent a recurrence.
And while joiking about who gets to fund the Japan quake relief, it seems nobody has any clue yet who ends up footing the bill. From Market News:
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday repeated that the government cannot make a decision on how to finance the high cost for rebuilding the quake-hit northeastern areas until it listens to the views of experts and various parties involved.
Faced by more legislative challenges in the hung parliament, Kan also told a news conference that he will seek an agreement between the ruling coalition led by the Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition parties, the latter of which holds a majority in the upper house.
Asked if he plans to re-invite Sadakazu Tanigaki, who heads the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, to form a grand coalition, Kan replied that he wants to "create a non-partisan structure to deal with reconstruction" of the quake-hit economy.
Kan said he will launch a reconstruction council comprising experts and regional representatives on April 11, a month after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit fishing ports and farmlands along the Pacific coast, triggering Japan's worst nuclear crisis.
He noted that suspending some planned spending in the fiscal 2011 budget would not be enough to secure a quake-relief fund but added that there is no decision as to whether the government will have to issue deficit-financing bonds or raise taxes.
Earlier on Friday, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said that the government is not considering introducing a new kind of income or consumption tax or issuing new types of government bonds aimed at financing high costs for rebuilding the quake-hit areas.
Noda also told reporters that any discussions on the possibility of the Bank of Japan's underwriting government bonds, which is currently banned by fiscal law, should be held "cautiously."
So while everyone expects this disaster to be ultimately "accretive" to shareholders everywhere, the question of where this money transfer will come from is still out in the open. Oddly, the push back for another massive debt infusion in Japan with its 200% debt/GDP may be higher than in the "prudent" US. Then again in a worst case scenarion, BofA and Wells Fargo, hot on the heels of their NYSE-Nasdaq "success", can always come to the table with a "higly confident" letter to presell a few hundred trillion in yen. After all what's a little debt between friends at the peak of a credit bubble.
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