18 July 02 – Tokyo Electric Power Co TEPCO, on Wednesday urged Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Toranosuke Katayama to reject the Fukushima prefectural assembly’s recent decision to raise the local tax on nuclear fuel, TEPCO officials said, Kyodo news service reported.

TEPCO President Nobuya Minami handed a petition to Katayama, saying the tax hike is unacceptable, the officials said. Fukushima Prefecture will need Katayama’s approval before putting the tax hike into effect.

Katayama told Minami he will meet Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato to discuss the issue and suggested Minami meet the governor as well, Kyodo reported.

On July 5, the Fukushima assembly unanimously voted to raise the local tax on nuclear fuel, paving the way for increasing the effective tax rate to 13.5 per cent from the current seven per cent. TEPCO strongly opposes the tax hike as it is the sole payer of the local tax. TEPCO runs ten nuclear reactors at its two power plants in the prefecture.

Minami told Katayama the tax hike could endanger nuclear power projects and thus deal a blow to the nation’s energy policy, the officials said.

Rusnok said the government will assess what to do if Agorfert is no longer interested in Unipetrol, the CTK report said.

There has been widespread speculation in the media that the closely held Agrofert cannot come up with money to complete the deal or has decided not to complete the transaction. The state’s regulatory agency, or UHOS, has repeatedly said it has not received all necessary documents from Agrofert relating to the acquisition of Unipetrol.

Unipetrol is the country’s leading petrochemical group with refineries, gas stations and companies producing asphalt and chemicals.