Toshiba Corp. faces an uphill battle in trying to wiggle out of its current mess.

The Japanese heavy machinery maker announced on Feb. 14 that it will post a loss of more than 700 billion yen ($6.14 billion) due mainly to swelling construction costs for the nuclear power reactors its U.S. nuclear power unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., is building.

Toshiba has said it will withdraw from the business of building nuclear power plants overseas and sell its computer chip business, the company’s main cash cow, to cover the huge losses.

Toshiba was hit by an accounting fraud scandal in 2015. To recover from the damage caused by the scandal, the maker has sold off its medical equipment and white goods units, focusing on two core businesses--nuclear power and semiconductors.

Now, however, the company will again be preoccupied with efforts to turn it around, while its revenue flows will shrink.

Much of the blame for the company’s predicament must be placed on top management.

Not surprisingly, Toshiba has said its chairman, Shigenori Shiga, who led the nuclear power unit, will resign. But he should not be the only one to take responsibility among the firm’s current and past top executives because the root cause of the crisis is the company’s costly acquisition of Westinghouse in 2006.

Toshiba’s U.S. nuclear power business, which has lost a tremendous amount of money, has been plagued by delays in construction projects.

In a bid to fix the problem, Westinghouse bought CB&I Stone & Webster, a nuclear construction and services company, in 2015. But the move has backfired, turning out to be a major strategic blunder.

To make matters worse for Toshiba, ballooning cost overruns at Westinghouse’s nuclear power plant projects in the United States then came to light.

It’s hard to fathom why the U.S. unit decided on the acquisition at a time when its Japanese parent was struggling to recover from the accounting scandal.

Toshiba was supposed to be making all-out, group-wide efforts to improve its management and governance systems. Why did the company fail to make a more rigorous assessment of the risks involved in the acquisition?

It is hard not to suspect that Toshiba was unable to control Westinghouse.

To make the announcement even more embarrassing and worrisome, Toshiba was unable to report its financial results on schedule, delaying the report, which was due Feb. 14.

As auditors refused to endorse the accuracy and credibility of Toshiba’s reporting on Westinghouse’s acquisition, the figures unveiled are only estimates.

When it was working on details on the losses, a whistle-blower warned about problems with Westinghouse’s management, forcing the company to carry out an investigation into the allegations.

There is the suspicion that Westinghouse’s top executive might have applied “inappropriate pressure” on the people around him.

The accounting scandal involved top Toshiba executives putting strong pressure on subordinates to achieve overambitious earnings targets, driving some of them into padding profits.

The company doesn’t seem to have learned the vital lessons from the scandal.

Toshiba urgently needs to conduct an investigation to identify the problems and announce the results.

The company cannot hope to regain the trust of society unless it cures all the ills of the organization.

Toshiba has a heavy responsibility for society as a whole as well as to its shareholders, employees and business partners.

In particular, the company is in charge of ensuring the safety of many nuclear power plants, including the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where the decommissioning of the reactors is under way.

Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear safety regulations have been tightened in Japan and many other countries, resulting in spikes in construction costs.

Toshiba has every reason to downsize its nuclear power business in the face of growing risks.

Still, the company needs to fulfill its responsibilities as a leading maker of nuclear power equipment by maintaining the necessary levels of manpower and technology for securing nuclear safety.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 16