On Tuesday, with anti-nuclear activists outside, about 9,300 investors attended a shareholders meeting for the Tokyo Electric Power Company--the owner and operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear station. The New York Times reports that the meeting served as an outlet for angry hecklers ("Go jump into a reactor and die!" shouted an elderly man at executives), but the company's current management "never faced any real danger of defeat." Here's one telling, denied motion:
A more contentious motion was brought by 402 shareholders who asked Tokyo Electric to shut down its existing nuclear power plants and not build any new ones. A similar motion had been rejected at each annual shareholders’ meeting for the past two decades.
"Do you really want to go down in history as rejecting this motion?" said an investor who identified himself as Masaki Kito, a lawyer. "Are you prepared to be responsible for the next big accident?" But the motion was voted down, ending the six-hour meeting.
TEPCO has been repeatedly criticized for ignoring warnings leading up to the devastating March 11th earthquake and tsunami that paralyzed Fukushima. And that frustration with the utility has fed into increased support for grassroots groups like the Skilled Veterans Corps: a network of elderly former engineers who have volunteered to assume the radiation risks of cleaning up the dangerous plant in place of a younger generation. As the group continues to make the media rounds, the Times observed that the movement has only grown:
[I]n a country starved for feel-good stories, the Skilled Veterans Corps has captured the hearts of many. Requests for interviews have poured in from around the world. Politicians have slowly come on board. On June 6, Mr. Yamada met Banri Kaieda, the minister of economy, trade and industry, who promised to help the volunteers before their "enthusiasm burns out."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.