Japan's energy minister, Yukio Edano, has beaten massive resistance at Tepco (photo:dpa)

Will the government takeover of Tepco prove a turning point for Japan’s monopolies?

After the Fukushima disaster, the owners of the plant, Tepco, believed it could carry on as normal, enjoying the privileges of regional monopoly in Japan’s nuclear power industry. But when the scale of its culpability became known and the size of costs was realised, the company had no other option than to accept a government bailout, and subsequent nationalisation.

DURING the first weeks after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011, Tepco, the operator of the nuclear plant, tried to return to ‘business as usual’. The company submitted, in the same month as the disaster, its official proposal to build two additional reactors on the Fukushima Daiichi site.

But fo...

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Dr. Stefan Lippert
A substantial deregulation of the power industry would be a wake-up call for other inefficient, protected sectors in Japan’s domestic economy, such as agriculture and healthcare
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