29 Mars 2013
FUKUSHIMA -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is set to begin paying compensation to residents of evacuation zones in 11 municipalities near the utility's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant for the loss of real estate and household articles.
TEPCO made the announcement here on March 29, stating that it will soon begin accepting requests for the compensation. It will begin payments in late April at the earliest, company officials said.
The decision opens the way for nuclear crisis evacuees to begin full-scale efforts to get their lives back to normal, such as buying new houses in the areas they're now living. The utility has already been paying damages for emotional distress and business losses resulting from the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
TEPCO will calculate compensation amounts for buildings based on their appraised value for fixed property taxes, or the average prices of new houses in their respective areas.
The power company will pay compensation for household articles such as furniture based on the number of members of each household and family composition.
TEPCO announced the criteria for paying compensation for real estates and household articles in July last year, eight months before it announced that it will shortly begin paying compensation.
As to the reason for the delay in starting the payment program, TEPCO Vice President and head of the utility's Fukushima disaster recovery headquarters Yoshiyuki Ishizaki explained that it took the firm a long time to examine unregistered real estate. Specifically, he pointed out that the names of owners of numerous properties in affected areas had not been renewed even though they were registered several decades ago.
"We apologize for the delay in the procedures for paying compensation that will be crucial for evacuees' efforts to put their lives back in order," Ishizaki told a news conference in Fukushima on March 29.
Structures that were damaged directly by earthquakes and tsunami are not covered by the compensation program, while standards for compensation for forests and farmland have not yet been determined.