Compensation set for Fukushima evacuees

2012-07-20 14:04

Tokyo - Japan on Friday set compensation guidelines for tens of thousands forced to evacuate an area around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant last year, with some able to claim the full value of their home.

Victims can claim the pre-disaster market value of a home if it remains uninhabitable for at least six years due to radiation contamination, with half that amount paid to those who return within three years, Tokyo said.

The new rules for compensation - most of which will be paid out by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power - also allow for as much as 6.75 million yen ($86 000) in claims for furniture, appliances and other personal belongings.

In addition there will be payouts for those who lost employment income or suffered mental anguish following the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, was expected to release more details of its compensation plan early next week, but industry minister Yukio Edano said on Friday that the new rules were the minimum that it could pay out.

The giant utility had been negotiating with tens of thousands of residents who had to leave their homes and businesses after the disaster.

But reaching settlements has been slow amid widespread distrust of the embattled firm.

Friday's payout details come more than a year after an earthquake-sparked tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the plant, causing meltdowns that spread radiation over a large area and forced thousands to evacuate.

While some have moved back to communities near the plant, many more now reside in other parts of Japan. There are fears it could be decades before some areas are liveable again.

About 19 000 people died or remain missing after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the north-eastern coast of Japan triggered the giant tsunami.