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article imageJapan nuclear plant evacuees demand compensation

By Kim I. Hartman     Apr 16, 2011 in World
Tokyo - Japan citizens are becoming increasingly frustrated by the handling of the nuclear crises at Fukushima that has forced them out of their homes and into evacuation centers were they wait for compensation payments to begin from the government and TEPCO.
Residents, farmers, fishermen and business owners have traveled from areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan five weeks ago causing one of the worst nuclear crises' in the world to the headquarters of Tokyo Power and Electric (TEPCO) demanding monies be paid to help with expenses from the disaster.
Many of them, forced from their homes due to radiation concerns as the evacuation area was steadily enlarged, are ready to try to pick up their lives and begin anew and are in need of funds to do so.
"I am not asking for anything more than I am entitled to," said Ichijiro Ishikawa, 69, who dug roads and tunnels and is now living in a shelter because his home is in a 12-mile (20-kilometer) evacuation zone around the plant. "I just want my due," reports the Associated Press.
"I can't work and that means I have no money," said Shigeaki Konno, 73, an auto repair mechanic, who lived seven miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant before he was evacuated along with tens of thousands of others due to radiation fears, according to AOL News. "The talk about compensation is not concrete. We need it quickly."
"TEPCO President Masataka Shimizuthe said on Wednesday it has begun preparing plans for compensation to those affected by the crisis but added that nothing specific has been decided," reports the Forbes. Shimizu apologized to the people gathered in protest at the plant headquarters during the morning news conference and pledged to do more, saying "cash payments would be readied as soon as possible and the company would do its best to get the plant's reactors under control and stop radiation leaks."
The Wall Street Journal reported, "the Japanese government has established a task force headed by the trade minister to examine compensation claims. In addition to claims covered under existing law, officials said aid also might be extended to cover losses sustained by fishermen, who call TEPCO's release of contaminated water into the sea unforgivable, and farmers affected by fears of radiation contamination in food items, fish and seafood."
According to the WSJ, "Japanese trade minister Banri Kaieda said lump-sum payments to evacuees, farmers and others affected by the spread of radiation is likely to total ¥1 million ($12,050) per household. J.P. Morgan Securities estimates compensation costs borne by Tepco will amount to ¥2 trillion yen" (24 billion).
Kyodo News is reporting residents of the Iitate have been told to evacuate after their village was added to the evacuation zone due to fears of radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Villagers are concerned about housing, food and distance they may have to travel during the evacuation period, as well as compensation for their troubles and their inability to financially meet their personal needs at this time without help from the government or the utility company.
CNN is reporting TEPCO made token payments to 10 communities in the immediate area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. "The company called the initial offer "payment for their troubles," and would not detail how much money is being offered to each community. But Kousei Negishi, who is the manager of general affairs for Namie, who have rejected the TEPCO monies, said that it was 20 million yen -- about $12 for each of Namie's roughly 20,000 residents."
Bloomberg reports TEPCO is required to carry liability insurance of 120 trillion yen and if a natural disaster is to blame he government shares the burden of compensation.
Japan Today has reported the residents and evacuees will be compensated for medical expenses, lost income and living costs, but at this time no monies have reached the hands of those affected most dramatically by the nuclear disaster and a date has not been set for when this might occur.
More about Japan, Nuclear power plant, evacuees demand compensation, TEPCO, Fukushima Daiichi
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