TOKYO, June 26 Japan's Kyushu Electric Power
and Hokkaido Electric Power received
shareholder approval on Thursday for bailouts from a
state-backed bank as the utilities struggle to cope with losses
from a prolonged shutdown of nuclear reactors.
All of Japan's 48 reactors remain shut more than three years
after the Fukushima catastrophe, the world's worst nuclear
disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
There is no timetable for restarts and atomic regulators
remain bogged down in vetting applications to reboot reactors,
with Kyushu Electric's Sendai plant in southwestern Japan seen
to be the closest to approval.
Shareholders on Thursday agreed to Kyushu Electric's plan to
issue 100 billion yen ($980 million) in preferred shares to
state-owned Development Bank of Japan, as well as Hokkaido
Electric's bid to issue 50 billion yen in preferred shares to
Hokkaido Electric and Kyushu Electric respectively relied on
nuclear plants to supply 30 percent and 42 percent of their
electricity before 2011, and have posted three straight years of
losses as they are forced to import expensive replacement fuels.
($1 = 102.0500 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Mari Sato; Editing by Aaron
Sheldrick and Joseph Radford)