Japan increases Fukushima compensation to $57 bln
28 July 2015
On July 28 Japan approved an increase in compensation payments for the Fukushima crisis to 7.07 trillion yen ($57.18 billion). Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, will receive 950 billion yen more in public funds on top of the 6.125 trillion agreed earlier, the utility and government said.
Fukushima Daiichi NPP - Image: Wikimedia Commons
Tepco has faced a stream of legal cases seeking compensation over the disaster which saw three reactors melt down after an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, in the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
Tens of thousands evacuees remain in temporary housing more than four years after the disaster, and many businesses and livelihoods have been destroyed.
Japanese taxpayers are paying for much of the compensation, and electricity bills for Japanese households have risen by 25% since the disaster as the country has imported expensive fossil fuels to generate electricity to replace capacity lost after the country’s nuclear reactors have shut for safety checks and upgrades.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government and Tepco, which was bailed out by taxpayers in 2012, are undertaking an unprecedented cleanup to lower radiation levels in towns closest to the plant, although some areas will likely remain off limits for decades.
Inside the plant, Tepco has struggled to bring the situation under control and it is estimated removing the melted fuel from the wrecked reactors and cleaning up the site will cost tens of billions of dollars and take decades to complete.
Under national government guidelines, residents in government-ordered evacuation zones and "specific spots recommended for evacuation," where radiation dosage is regionally high, are entitled to 100,000 yen each a month under TEPCO's compensation for mental distress.
The government plans to revoke evacuation orders for most people forced from their homes by the disaster within two years as part of a plan to cap compensation payouts and speed up reconstruction.