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Tepco chief pressured to quit on reactor crisis

Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu is facing calls to quit after the crisis at the utility’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant capped a tenure that has seen $26 billion wiped off the company’s market value.

The share price decline since Shimizu took charge in June 2008 at Tepco, as the company is known, has deepened to 67 percent in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster, as of the March 25 close in Tokyo. That’s the worst performance of any of the 88 members of the MSCI World Utilities Index and of the 17 companies in the Topix Electric Power & Gas Index.

Tepco has been battling to prevent a catastrophic release of radiation at the crippled plant north of Tokyo, struck 17 days ago by a devastating quake and tsunami. Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s anger at the early response to the threat of nuclear meltdown will likely prompt a purge of Shimizu, 66, and his executive team, investors and analysts said. 

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