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Japan’s Companies Can Withstand Power Curbs, Business Chief Says

Japan Association of Corporate Executives Yasuchika Hasegawa
Yasuchika Hasegawa, president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, poses for a photograph after an interview in Tokyo. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japan’s electricity curbs aimed at averting summertime outages will have “very minimal” impact on businesses, said Yasuchika Hasegawa, head of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives.

Japan’s government has estimated Tokyo and eight nearby prefectures may have a shortage of 15,000 megawatts of power should temperatures this summer approach last year’s level. Companies have been urged to cut power use by as much as a quarter to conserve supplies after a quake and tsunami crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

Such restrictions may not be needed, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters today without giving details. The government may seek a 15 percent cut instead, the Nikkei newspaper reported on April 21, citing trade ministry officials it didn’t identify. The smaller reduction would enable companies to run their businesses as usual, Hasegawa said.

“It’s manageable from our perspective,” said Hasegawa, 64, who succeeded Ricoh Co. Chairman Masamitsu Sakurai as the head of the business lobby group today.

Hasegawa, who is also chief executive officer of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Asia’s largest drugmaker, said he doesn’t “have any serious concern about the electricity supply.”

Businesses will have time to buy electricity generators and batteries to help buffer any supply shortfall by the 2012 summer, Hasegawa said. The March 11 natural disasters won’t deter Japanese companies from pursuing mergers and acquisitions overseas, he said.

“The earthquake and tsunami are neutral to the M&A attempts from the Japanese corporate leaders’ perspective,” Hasegawa said. “Particularly when the yen is really strong, like now, it’s a great opportunity to go out there.”

The yen has strengthened 15 percent against the dollar in the past 12 months, the fourth best performing major currency.

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