August 27, 2014
“We succeeded in greatly deepening (local officials’) understanding (of our storage facility plan),” Nobuteru Ishihara, environment minister, told reporters on Aug. 26 after meeting with members of the town assemblies of Futaba and Okuma.
Ishihara said the central government will pay subsidies totaling 301 billion yen ($2.89 billion) to support local residents’ lives and revitalize local communities. Of that, 85 billion yen will go directly to the town governments of Futaba and Okuma, which host the stricken Fukushima plant. The remaining 216 billion yen in subsidies will be distributed through other programs.
The central government plans to distribute documents to all residents of the two towns to explain the assistance measures, and set up a dedicated telephone line to answer inquiries from local residents and others.
As for the purchase prices of the construction sites for the storage facilities, which had been a stumbling block between the central government and local officials, the Fukushima prefectural government had proposed earlier in August to cover the difference between land prices before the nuclear disaster and the current land values.
Because the town assemblies were satisfied with the suggested assistance measures, the governments of both Futaba and Okuma agreed to allow the central government to hold explanatory sessions for the landowners.
With the town governments giving their approval, it is now up to the landowners to give final approval for the central government to proceed with construction of the intermediate storage facilities.
The central government is expected to start negotiations with landowners by the end of September, after the Fukushima prefectural government officially announces its acceptance of the construction plan.
Source: Asahi Shimbun http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201408270040