About Us

Apologies and Explanation to Citizens of Tokamachi City, Ojiya City and Kawaguchi Town

East Japan Railway Company

November 26, 2009

Satoshi Seino, President of East Japan Railway Company (JR East), has apologized to municipalities for a series of inappropriate actions when the company made improper intakes of water at JR East’s Shinanogawa Power Plant. He delivered his apology to Tokamachi City on November 25th and to Kawaguchi Town and Ojiya City on November 26th. At the same time, he explained JR East’s approach toward future endeavors and our stance on applying for water usage rights.

Major content

1. Basic stance on the recent improper actions

  • Plant management was not adequately aware of the increasing importance of maintaining and protecting the river environment.
  • They had little understanding that it is a privilege to be able to use the precious water resources of the Shinano River.
  • They were also not paying close enough attention to citizens seeking improvements to the Shinano River environment.
  Under these circumstances,
  • They committed actions such as making improper water intakes.

  Mr. Seino explained these facts and apologized for them.

2. Measures to prevent recurrence

  • We have stressed the importance of compliance company-wide.
  • We have set up an Outside Expert Committee on Hydroelectric Power Operations and a Project to Improve Operations at Power Plants Etc., taken awareness-raising measures such as giving employees training on River Law compliance etc., improved company organization and systems and worked to improve our corporate culture for better understanding of intent.
  • We have made corrections to structures, etc. that were built or altered without permission, and reported to the director of the Hokuriku Regional Development Bureau.

3. Apology, etc. for past actions

  • Understanding that the water from the Shinano River is a precious asset, we will work to harmonize hydroelectric power generation with the river environment.
  • We have formed the Miyanaka Intake Dam Fish Chute Structural Improvements Examination Committee, which has convened twice.
  • We will receive instructions from the river manager while keeping a line of communication open about the river environment with the local community and other related parties.
  • We have reflected well on the fact that our actions toward the river environment were inadequate, and therefore will pay 3 billion yen to Tokamachi City, 2 billion yen to Ojiya City and 700 million yen to Kawaguchi Town to maintain and improve the Shinano River environment and otherwise harmonize our relationship with the environment.
  • Though water intakes have ceased, the electric power that was generated as a secondary effect of providing irrigation water has already been used, but JR East will pay back the value of this power.

4. Coexistence with the community

  • JR East promises to respond sincerely to the comments and wishes of interested parties concerning the Shinano River environment and electric power generation activities there.
  • We will receive instructions from the river manager, etc. while steadily carrying out those measures we are capable of implementing.
  • We are dedicated to consulting with interested parties on measures that will lead to regional vitalization as we work to achieve these measures.

5. Stance on application for water usage rights

  • The Shinanogawa Power Plant plays a truly critical role in JR East’s transportation services, while hydroelectric power is a clean form of energy that emits no carbon dioxide.
  • Our hope is to harmonize our operations with the river environment, based on the advice of the Shinano River Mid-Basin Water Improvement Examination Conference, while keeping a dialog about river flows with the local community and other related parties and winning their understanding so that we might resume electric power generation.
  • While working to obtain their understanding regarding our apology and future efforts, we wish to undertake, within the period prescribed by the director of the Hokuriku Regional Development Bureau, the procedures for applying for water usage rights to resume electric power generation.