The government will order Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay an additional 7 million yen ($66,700) in compensation for each person who will likely be unable to return home over their lifetimes due to the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The science and technology ministry’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation on Dec. 26 decided to order TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, to compensate nuclear disaster victims for the loss of their hometowns.
The committee will also order TEPCO to help the victims purchase new homes.
The latest decision came as the government is shifting emphasis from helping people return to their hometowns in Fukushima Prefecture to supporting evacuees rebuild their lives elsewhere.
The newest compensation will be paid to about 25,000 people from "difficult-to-return zones" where radiation levels are more than 50 millisieverts per year. It remains unclear when those residents will be allowed to return home, if ever.
Each of the 25,000 evacuees already receives 100,000 yen per month in compensation. The additional 7 million yen will raise the total amount of compensation to 14.5 million yen per person.
TEPCO will also be required to pay additional money to support evacuees who will not be able to return to their hometowns to help them buy land and houses elsewhere.
According to estimates by the office of the ministry’s committee, a family of four from the difficult-to-return zones will be eligible to receive 106.75 million yen overall, including the compensation announced on Dec. 26.
It is also estimated that a family of four from zones where residences are restricted--where radiation levels are between 20 and 50 millisieverts per year--will receive 71.97 million yen. A family of the same number from areas where preparations will be made to lift the current evacuation order, which cover regions with an annual radiation level of 20 millisieverts or lower, will be able to receive 56.81 million yen, according to the estimates.
A 35-year-old unemployed man, who was forced to evacuate with his wife and three children from their home in a difficult-to-return zone in Okuma, recently purchased a new house in Koriyama in the prefecture far from the stricken plant, using his monthly compensation from TEPCO.
The man said he felt relieved to hear that they will be able to receive additional compensation that will total several tens of millions of yen.
“Because vast amounts of money have been spent for decontamination work in areas where residents will likely be unable to return home, I have been concerned that the amount of compensation we will receive may be reduced,” he said.
(This article was written by Takuro Negishi, Kunio Ozawa, Yukiko Seino and Noriyoshi Otsuki.)
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