WASHINGTON, March 16 Japan's industry minister
said on Thursday he had agreed with the U.S. energy and commerce
secretaries to share information on developments involving
Toshiba Corp and its troubled U.S. nuclear affiliate,
Westinghouse Electric Co., Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.
Toshiba Corp said on Tuesday it was 'actively considering' a
sale and other strategic options for Westinghouse, as it
expanded a probe into problems there that caused the parent
group to miss an earnings deadline for a second time.
The Japanese conglomerate said it believed it could find
buyers for a majority stake in Westinghouse but sidestepped
questions about a potential Chapter 11 filing for the unit,
saying only there were various options. Sources have said
bankruptcy lawyers have been hired as an exploratory step.
Kyodo said Hiroshige Seko, Japan's minister of economy,
trade and industry, told Japanese reporters after talks in
Washington with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross that he had agreed with them to share
information about developments in the case.
According to Kyodo, Seko said the U.S. Cabinet members had
said they considered the fiscal stability of Toshiba extremely
Kyodo said Seko had a separate meeting Thursday with Gary
Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council.
The U.S. commerce and energy departments and the NEC did not
respond to requests for comment.
Seko was on a one-day visit to prepare for a high-level
bilateral economic dialogue due to start next month led by
Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President
A sale of Westinghouse would represent the latest in a
series of steps Toshiba is taking to grapple with losses
stemming from the nuclear unit's ill-fated purchase of a U.S.
nuclear power plant construction company in 2015.
Toshiba has already put up most or even all of its memory
chip business for sale to cope with an upcoming $6.3 billion
writedown for the nuclear business and to create a buffer for
potential losses down the road.
Westinghouse has been plagued by huge cost overruns at two
U.S. projects in Georgia and South Carolina and liabilities
related to those projects mean it is unlikely to be an easy
asset to sell, despite attractive technology.
Westinghouse has been negotiating a multi-billion dollar
deal to build six nuclear reactors in India after a 2008 civil
nuclear accord, a deal supposed to showcase a new era of
economic and strategic cooperation between the United States and
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; additional reporting by Timothy