Tokyo: The president of the embattled operator of Japan's crippled nuclear plant visited Fukushima on Monday and apologised for the atomic emergency engulfing the area.
Masataka Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), had wanted to go to the offices of the Fukushima prefecture government in the hope of meeting Governor Yuhei Sato, but a local official said no meeting had taken place.
The official gave no reason, but Sato has refused to meet the boss of the embattled utility before.
Shimizu had no plans to see residents who were forced to abandon their houses, farms and fishing boats when the Fukushima Daiichi power plant began spewing radiation into the air, soil and sea, a TEPCO spokesman said.
But he told reporters in Fukushima he was sorry for the mess his plant had created after the tsunami of March 11 rolled ashore. “I offer my personal apology from the bottom of my heart once again to the people in Fukushima prefecture and residents near the nuclear plant for having imposed such awful physical and mental burdens,” he said.
It was Shimizu's first public appearance since March 13, two days after a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, setting off the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
First Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011, 12:26