When accused, act confused! This is exactly how the new Tepco chief, Naomi Hirose is playing his cards. At a press conference, Hirose declared that he was ‘baffled’ (sic) by the criticism that his company was facing for the role they played during the handling of the Fukushima disaster. According to an investigative panel appointed by parliament, much of the disaster could have been averted if Tokyo Electric Power Co, its regulators and the government were not so cozy about Tepco’s descripencies. They were aware of the risks a tsunami posed, but ignored the warnings.
Journalist grilled Hirose over Tepco’s consistent discrepancies with regards to safety provisions. Tepco is known for hushing things up, especially after its own admission in 2007 that it had faked safety reports and hidden defects at its reactors for decades.
Hirose agreed that there was a large perception gap between the way people perceived the company and how it functioned. His job now is to bridge the gap.
Besides addressing the press, Hirose’s first call of duty as president was to meet the evacuees residing at a high school and reassure them. In any case Fukushima’s spent fuel pool No. 4 is another major cause of concern that the Tepco chief has to worry about. And if that is not enough, regular anti-nuclear protests in the capital city is adding pressure on the government to abandon nuclear power plant projects altogether. As rightly said, trust once lost is very hard to regain, looks to me Hirose has his work cut out for him and his road to redemption is quite steep.