Tokyo Electric Power, the company at the centre of Japan’s deepening nuclear crisis, could be nationalised by the Japanese government.
The National Strategy Minister Koichiro Gemba said that is one option being considered in the face of mounting costs and public anger over the disaster at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor complex.
Tokyo Electric, known as TEPCO, does not have enough money to fix the broken reactors, pay compensation and cover its soaring bill for insuring its other nuclear plants.
Last year its profit was just 1.16 billion euros on turnover of 43 billion euros and between 11 March and 29 March its shares lost three-quarters of their value.
Imposing state ownership on the world’s largest private utility would hit its shareholders but analysts said the risk of the company collapsing without government support is tremendous.
Expectations of a government takeover would make it easier for TEPCO to borrow more to pay for the crisis.