Thank you for giving me an opportunity to make a brief speech concerning current situation of Japanese electric utility industry. The electric utility industry in Japan is now facing a serious turning point.
The first point is the liberalization of electric utility market, which has been enacted since March this year. Japanese government and giant business corporations, their manufacturing arms in particular have intensified their call for deregulation of the electric utility industry expecting to ease their production cost with energy and to be competitive on the global market under the pressure of lasting economic recession at home. They urged the electric companies through the liberalization to achieve the cost reduction to an internationally comparable level by the year 2001.
In response to this call, a set of intern liberalization measure has been taken in the last 5 years and finally 28% of the total electricity retail market was liberalized with an aim to further promote an efficiency of electric utility industry and to guarantee energy security. Now a member of big electric user consuming more than 2000 kW with 20 000 voltage can buy electricity from any power producer. This partial liberalization shall be reviewed 3 years later.
Japanese electric utility industry had been controlled by 10 private electric power companies such as Tokyo electric power and KANSAI electric power etc, as regional monopoly. But now 3 more power production companies were newly established to compete with those traditional monopolies in the partially liberalized retail market.
For instances, American energy group ENRO has rushed into this market and already established a power producing company to share the part of the cake but cut-throat competitive in the promised market. After the partial liberalization the (MITI) ministry of international trade and industry which is handling energy policy has invited bids (bidding) for the contract for its own electric consumption, and newly established power generating company Diamond power made a successful bids with the bidding price 4% cheaper than Tokyo electric power. In the meantime Tokyo electric power has announced in October to reduce the electricity bill for its own big clients and now TEPCO power toward the same category of big electric consumers.
As the matter of course this cut-throat competition between the power company on the liberalized market can not help but to create a great number of victims among workers; number of personal cut, dismissals, wage restraint, introduction of negative flexible time, deterioration of social security system and so on / and so forth.
Now 2nd point concerns nuclear energy question.
According to the opinion poll, more than 90% of the Japanese population do not feel sure of nuclear power. In spite of this fact, the government and electricity companies promote nuclear energy development without any proposition of democratic public debate or consultation.
Taking advantage of the decision taken at the Conference of Kyoto held in 1997, the government and power companies even intensify the development of nuclear energy in the pretext that nuclear energy conform perfectly to the decisions of Kyoto to reduce the CO2 emission. At the same time, they organize a wide range of campaign and propaganda to form a favourable public opinion that nuclear technology is extremely sure.
In the middle of this campaign, the worst accident in the nuclear development history in Japan happened at the private nuclear fuel processing factory (JOC) at Tokai-Mura.
Japanese population felt again betrayed by the government and companies nuclear energy development programme. We firmly oppose the current nuclear energy development policy oriented by the government and the electric utility companies.
Finally, I would like to summarize our position regarding the electric utility industry.
Energy or electricity is so vital for everybodys daily life or any industries in general that it must be supplied in a stable manner to everyone. It is evident that the electricity industry and the service must be managed and controlled democratically by the state or local public body bearing responsibility on security supply environment employment fixing optimal price and so on.
Only public service system can meet to those fundamental necessities of the population. It is quite hard to imagine that profit seeking private enterprises could guarantee those fundamental necessities.
The deregulation policy directed by the government brings only guarantee a profit for big corporation on the sacrifice of the populations and workers. It is quite contrary to the economic democracy as well. The deregulation should be dealt for the interest of population to improve their life and social economic development.
From this point of view, we consider the electric utility industry to be controlled by public body with participation of population in the management of those companies.
As regards nuclear power generation, current energy policy heavenly waiting on nuclear energy development should be change. Plutonium fast breeder reactor should be abandoned. The government should put bore emphasis on a natural renewal energy resource.
If E7 seek to gain a social confidence on electric utility industry and seek to promote a sustainable energy development , they had better not to lose a time to start dialogue with appropriate social partners for gaining truly sustainable international opinion in the world.
Thank you for your attention.