Japan utility says reluctance to worry public delayed disclosure of nuke plant's leaks

The utility operating Japan's crippled nuclear plant says it delayed acknowledging contaminated water leaks into the sea because it did not want to worry the public until it was certain there was a problem.

Earlier this week, Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged for the first time that its Fukushima plant was leaking contaminated water into the ocean, a problem many experts had suspected.

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told a news conference Friday that the company delayed the announcement even though obvious signs of leaks were detected in May because officials were waiting until they were certain there was a problem.

Hirose apologized for the delayed announcement and said he and a TEPCO vice president would take a 10 percent salary cut for one month over the matter.