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2013年5月14日 (火)

東電再建迷走 政府は国有化の責任を果たせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 14, 2013
With TEPCO racking up massive deficits, govt should do more to help
東電再建迷走 政府は国有化の責任を果たせ(5月13日付・読売社説)

A year has passed since the government approved Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Comprehensive Special Business Plan centering on a decision to place TEPCO under state control.
 東京電力の国有化を柱とした「総合特別事業計画」を政府が認定して1年になった。

The circumstances surrounding the utility's management have deteriorated, however.
ところが、東電の経営は厳しさを増すばかりである。

TEPCO's financial difficulties must not result in delaying resolution of the aftermath of the meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and compensation payments. The government should take a more realistic approach by revamping the current framework for TEPCO's bailout and shoulder an appropriate share of the burden.
 経営難で福島第一原子力発電所の事故収束や損害賠償が遅れる事態は避けねばならない。国も応分の負担をする現実的な支援制度に改めるべきだ。

The company racked up a colossal deficit for the third straight year in its settlement of accounts for the business year ending in March. TEPCO's goal of swinging back into the black by the end of fiscal 2013 will be extremely difficult.
 東電の今年3月期決算は3年連続で巨額赤字となった。今年度に黒字転換する目標の達成は、極めて難しい。

Inaction flagrant

If the utility fails to chalk up a profit, the utility's creditor banks could cut off lending. If the situation is left unchanged, the company's financing problem could become ever more critical.
黒字化しないと、銀行が東電への融資を打ち切る恐れもある。このままでは、資金繰りが行き詰まりかねない。

Under the current framework, a maximum of 5 trillion yen in public funds would be loaned to TEPCO by the government to temporarily help the utility pay the compensation, under condition that the firm continue repaying the loan.
 現行の支援制度は最大5兆円の公的資金で原発事故の賠償費用を一時的に立て替え、東電が長年にわたり返済を続ける仕組みだ。

The problem is that besides the inadequate amount of government financial assistance, the current plan assumes that all costs involving the nuclear crisis must be borne by TEPCO alone.
 問題なのは、支援額が足りないうえに、最終的にすべての費用を東電に負担させることである。

In November, TEPCO produced an estimate that aggregate costs, including those for decommissioning the Fukushima plant's reactors and decontamination of irradiated areas, are expected to swell to more than 10 trillion yen. It called on the government to extend additional assistance.
 東電は昨年11月、福島第一原発の廃炉や除染を含む総費用が10兆円規模に膨らむと見積もり、政府に追加支援を求めた。

The previous administration, led by then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, turned a deaf ear to the utility's appeal.
だが、当時の野田内閣はこれを放置した。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet also has done nothing to alleviate the situation. As TEPCO is now under state control, the government's position on the matter is flagrantly irresponsible.
 安倍内閣も、何も対処していない。東電を国有化しているのに、あまりにも無責任だ。

In response to the request for expanded government help, Abe said at a recent meeting with TEPCO Chairman Kazuhiko Shimokobe and others that the government was "prepared to take a step forward in doing what is necessary." The prime minister, however, failed to offer specific measures.
 安倍首相は、支援を訴える東電の下河辺和彦会長らに「国も一歩前に出て力を尽くしたい」と述べたが、具体策は語らなかった。

TEPCO's management problems have worsened alarmingly because the depreciation of the yen has caused a sharp increase in the cost of fuel for thermal power plants that have replaced idled nuclear plants.
 原発を代替する火力発電の燃料費が円安で一段とかさみ、東電の経営悪化は加速している。

Under the circumstances, the government must waste no time in expanding assistance to TEPCO.
支援の実現を急いでもらいたい。

The cost of running nuclear plants is much lower. Restarting a single plant will reduce the utility's fuel expenditures by about 80 billion yen a year.
 原発は燃料費が安く、1基再稼働すれば経費を年800億円ほど節約できる。

TEPCO plans to reactivate four of the seven reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata Prefecture this fiscal year, but no decision has been made on when this will happen.
東電は、新潟県にある柏崎刈羽原発7基のうち4基を今年度中に再稼働する方針だが、全く進んでいない。

Because Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida and others are dead set against restarting the reactors, bringing them back online will be difficult.
 新潟県の泉田裕彦知事らが反対していることもあって、再稼働へのハードルは相当に高い。

Reactor reactivation vital

With only two reactors in the nation operating--at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture--many other utilities are recording massive red figures. As electricity rates have been raised, the burden on households and companies has increased.
 関西電力の大飯原発2基以外の原発がすべて運転を停止している影響で、東電以外でも多くの電力会社が大幅な赤字に転落した。各社の電気料金の値上げで、企業や家計の負担は増している。

Although it is important for utilities to rein in rate hikes as much as possible through cost-cutting, there are limits to what they can do to restructure their businesses.
 電力会社が合理化で値上げをできるだけ抑える努力は重要だが、リストラにも限界があろう。

After the Nuclear Regulation Authority ensures the safety of reactors on the basis of new regulatory standards to eliminate power shortages, the reactors should be gradually brought back online to resuscitate the economy.
 やはり、原子力規制委員会の新たな規制基準で安全性を確認した原発を着実に再稼働し、電力不足を解消することが、日本経済再生のためにも不可欠といえる。

The government must redouble its efforts to resume nuclear power plant operations as early as possible by explaining to local entities hosting these plants about the safety measures taken and the country's need for nuclear power generation.
 政府は、原発の安全性や必要性について立地自治体へ丁寧に説明するなど、早期の再稼働に向けて積極的に取り組むべきである。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 13, 2013)
(2013年5月13日01時11分  読売新聞)

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