AMSTERDAM Jan 7 Dutch pension fund ABP said it
has sold its stake in Tokyo Electric Power Co. after
the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant failed to
respond to repeated requests to discuss public safety and
ABP, a fund for civil servants, is one of the biggest
pension funds in the world with nearly 300 billion euros ($408
billion) in investments.
An earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 triggered three
meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, the worst
nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, and exposed a lack of
preparation by Tokyo Electric Power or Tepco.
ABP's decision to put Tepco on its list of banned
investments with effect from Jan. 1 is the latest blow to the
Japanese utility, which has faced strong criticism over its
labour and other policies during the cleanup.
Harmen Geers, a spokesman for ABP, said on Tuesday the
fund's stake in Tepco was sold during the fourth quarter for an
undisclosed amount. The stake was worth 18 million euros at the
end of the third quarter, according to ABP's quarterly statement
"During and after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the
Japanese company structurally violated our standards. So they
have little regard for public safety," ABP said in a statement
Geers said that ABP had tried repeatedly to meet with Tepco
to discuss its concerns, but the company had not responded.
Every year ABP updates its list of banned investments, which
include several companies involved in making cluster weapons.
In Tepco's case, Geers said, the company failed to meet
objectives regarding respect for human rights and environmental
challenges, two of the 10 principles outlined in the United
Nations Global Compact which ABP uses as guidelines for its
socially responsible investing.
Tepco could not be reached immediately for comment.
Japan will chip in more taxpayer money and other support to
help Tepco clean up from the disaster, officials said last
month, the latest government lifeline for the embattled utility.
Criticism of its handling of the massive clean-up has
sparked calls to spin off Fukushima-related work and place it
under government control or even put Tepco into bankruptcy.
However a Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, which
includes four members from outside Tepco, was set up in 2012 in
to monitor pledges to raise standards of safety culture at the
company and last month the utility won praise from monitors.
"It's nice to see the good progress Tepco has made in the
last several months," Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the Committee, although he
added that much work remained to be done.