April 18, 2012 / 2:40 PM / in 6 years

Japan eyes bailout body official as Tepco chairman-NHK TV

TOKYO, April 18 (Reuters) - The Japanese government is set to choose as the next chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a lawyer with expertise in turning around troubled businesses, public broadcaster NHK said on Wednesday.

Kazuhiko Shimokobe has been working closely with the troubled utility for months as a senior official of the government-backed bailout body set up to help the utility, known as Tepco, cope with vast costs of post-disaster compensation.

Tepco and the bailout body has been delaying the submission of a business turnaround plan that they had hoped to file last month as the government struggled to find a new chairman, reflecting huge hurdles in restoring the firm’s profitability.

The selection of a new chairman is seen as one of the pillars of the plan, which will outline how Tepco aims to turnaround its business in return for one of the biggest public bailouts outside the banking sector of around 1 trillion yen ($12.3 billion). ($1 = 80.7700 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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