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PEOPLE | Cesar Tordesillas, Japan
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TEPCO under scrutiny for hiring ex-bureaucrat

TEPCO's hiring of a former Tokyo Metropolitan Government official to collect the capital's energy policy information placed it under possibe criticism.

 

Hisao Ohashi, 65, former chief of the Bureau of Environment at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, was employed by TEPCO as an advisor in September last year.

Ohashi, who had left his metropolitan government post in June 2006, was assigned by TEPCO to collect internal information on the capital's energy policy from metropolitan officials and provide the information to the utility.

 The utility's move, which comes against its responsibility to streamline as a precondition for raising electricity bills, looks set to stir up criticism toward its management attitude.

At TEPCO, Ohashi served as an advisor to its Environment Department, which is in charge of taking measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power stations and the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyl  contained in large electric transformers. However, he quit TEPCO on Feb. 20 this year after learning that the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper had started investigating his re-employment.

According to sources close to TEPCO, the utility's Environment Department had intended since before the March 11 disaster to hire a former metropolitan official because the department was having difficulties in responding to a metropolitan government system that obliges plants and other facilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 to 8 percent, starting in April 2010.

"We hired him because we expected that he would exert a positive impact on our company," said TEPCO President Nishizawa. "If there's any criticism, we will face it."

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