Fears that the Japanese government could be forced to bail out the company at the centre of the world’s worst nuclear accident in a quarter of a century, has sparked concerns over some of Japan’s leading financial institutions that are exposed to the troubled utility.

Yesterday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it would seek financial assistance from the Japanese government as it struggles to contain radiation leaks from its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It was the first indication from the company, which last week raised $25 billion in emergency funding from three of Japan’s largest banks, may have insufficient funds to cover the cost of the crisis.