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Chairman of Tepco, owner of Fukushima nuclear plant, to resign

Future of utility uncertain as Takashi Kawamura, 80, steps aside

Takashi Kawamura, the chairman of Tepco has held the post since 2017. However, he has expressed his intention to step down, partly due to age. (Nikkei Montage/Reuters) 

TOKYO -- The chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings will resign, Nikkei learned on Tuesday.

Takashi Kawamura, 80, has held the post since 2017. However, he has expressed his intention to step down partly due to age. Indications at this point are that a successor will not immediately be named.

The Japanese government has asked a number of industry leaders to assume the post, but no one has so far accepted. Without a chairman, the outlook for the company in the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident appears challenging.

Tepco will soon hold a board of directors' meeting and officially approve Kawamura's resignation. A new management arrangement will start in June.

Kawamura also held the position of chairman of the board. Shoei Utsuda, ex-chairman of Mitsui & Co., and unaffiliated director at Tepco, will take over that post.

Kawamura succeeded Fumio Sudo, former president of JFE Holdings. Before assuming Tepco's chairmanship, Kawamura worked for Hitachi for most of his career, contributing to the industrial conglomerate's recovery as president following the 2008 financial crisis. At Tepco, Kawamura worked to raise employees' awareness of the company's difficulties in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown.

The chairman plays an important role in overseeing Tepco, especially because the power company has effectively been under government supervision since the nuclear disaster. With the chairmanship vacant, it is uncertain how much control the company will be able to exercise over its own governance.

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