Six years after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plan to pull the plug on compensation to business operators for losses they incurred due to the forced evacuation.
The plan will be included in a new compensation policy to be worked out as early as this month.
Though the new policy also will include support measures for reconstruction of the businesses, the termination of compensation payments will likely be met with a backlash from business owners who have halted operations or suffered a decline in revenues.
The total compensation TEPCO paid to individuals or businesses due to the nuclear accident in March 2011 stood at nearly 5 trillion yen (about $39.8 billion) as of the end of April. Under the new plan, the total amount is likely to be kept below 6 trillion yen.
About 8,000 business operators have evacuated from the evacuation zones. They have received compensation for financial damages they have suffered for the four years until fiscal 2014, which ended in March 2015.
Under the new policy, they will also receive compensation for an additional two years that will continue until fiscal 2016. However, the lump-sum compensation payments will end then.
Business operators outside the evacuation zones have also received compensation if they have suffered financial damages due to rumors of radioactive contamination. The operators have included those operating tourism-related companies or food processing firms.
Until fiscal 2014, they have received compensation based on the financial damages they have incurred in each fiscal year. The annual amount of compensation has been calculated by subtracting the profits of each fiscal year from those of the pre-nuclear accident year.
Under the new policy, they will receive compensation for the additional two years in a lump-sum payment. The amount of the compensation will be calculated based on the gap between the profits of fiscal 2014 and those of the pre-nuclear accident year.
Before the termination of compensation payments, the government and the private sector will jointly set up an organization to support business operators to reconstruct their operations, change their businesses or find new jobs for them or their employees.
The government will start discussions with economic organizations in Fukushima Prefecture later this month for the establishment of the new organization.
Compensation payments to farmers, fishermen and workers engaged in forestry are expected to continue even after fiscal 2016.
As for compensation payments to evacuees, 14.5 million yen has been paid to each evacuee from the difficult-to-return zones where radiation levels remain high. In the non-residence zones and the zones being prepared for lifting of the evacuation order, 100,000 yen has been paid to each evacuee per month.
The monthly payments will be terminated in March 2018, which is the end of fiscal 2017. At the conclusion, each evacuee in non-residence zones and zones being prepared for the lifting of the evacuation order will have received a total of 8.4 million yen for the seven-year period from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2017.
Source : Asahi Shimbun