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July 21, 2012


Chugoku Electric intended to dispatch worker to public hearing to support nuclear power




HIROSHIMA -- Chugoku Electric Power Co. intended to dispatch an employee to a government-led public hearing here on energy policy to express the firm's view on nuclear power, an internal document obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun shows.

This is the first time that it has come to light that an electric power supplier attempted as an entity to have an employee attend a hearing, which is aimed at determining the ratio of atomic power to Japan's total power consumption in 2030.

Chugoku Electric Power abandoned the plan after employees of Tohoku and Chubu electric power companies expressed their opinions at similar hearings in Sendai and Nagoya, respectively, and the government decided not to allow industry insiders to make statements at such gatherings.

Chugoku Electric Power's public relations department said it had intended to have an employee attend the hearing, which is scheduled to be held in Hiroshima on July 29, with the organizer's approval.

"We planned to choose one employee to represent the company and apply to take part in the hearing. If allowed to attend it, we intended to have the employee go after gaining approval from the government," an official with the public relations department said. "We had no intention of asking multiple employees to apply to participate (to represent the firm)."

"We thought it important to express our opinions as a company responsible for ensuring a stable supply of electric power," the official added.

Tohoku and Chubu electric power companies said their employees expressed their opinions at Sendai and Nagoya hearings as individuals, and denied that the firms were involved as entities.

The internal document, dated July 12, was compiled in the name of the public relations chief of Chugoku Electric Power's business planning department and was addressed to high-ranking officials.

"Workers, mainly those in the business planning department, will apply to participate in the hearing. If they are given an opportunity to attend it, they will express the company's view," the document partly read.

The document said that all employees were free to apply to participate as individuals and submit their opinions on the issue to the hearing organizer.

However, the document banned insiders from asking retirees or business partners to apply to participate in the hearing or submit their opinions to the organizer saying, "It could give the public the impression that we are asking outsiders to express our view on our behalf."

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