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LDP wants to let evacuees move back to areas tainted with 50 millisieverts or less by March 2017

001LDP wants to let evacuees to move back to areas tainted with 50 millisieverts or less by March 2017

A team from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is requesting that Fukushima’s nuclear evacuees be allowed to return to parts of the prefecture where the annual radiation dose is 50 millisieverts or less by March 2017.

The proposal to prematurely lift the nuclear evacuation orders was made Thursday by the LDP’s Headquarters for Accelerating Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The conservative party will submit this and other related measures to its leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, later this month after consulting with coalition partner Komeito.

The LDP’s proposal covers two of the three restricted areas around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which tainted much of the prefecture during the three core meltdowns triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

One of the areas has an estimated annual radiation dose of 20 millisieverts or less. It has been designated as an area where residents can prepare for evacuation orders to be lifted.

The other has an estimated annual radiation dose of between 20 and 50 millisieverts.

The 55,000 or so registered residents in the two areas are only allowed entry for a handful of activities, including short visits and business.

The third restricted area, which won’t see its evacuation status lifted by March 2017, is the most heavily polluted and is estimated to have an annual radiation dose beyond 50 millisieverts. The area, which has about 22,000 registered residents, remains a no-go zone.

The LDP team said the government should take steps to pave the way for a smooth transition in the two less-polluted areas by accelerating decontamination work and rebuilding infrastructure.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is paying ¥100,000 in consolation money to each displaced resident in the two areas every month. The payments are to be terminated one year after the evacuation orders are lifted.

The LDP team proposed that Tepco continue making the payments until March 2018, regardless of when the evacuation orders are lifted for the two areas.

Last year, Japan lifted evacuation orders in parts of Tamura and the village of Kawauchi that had been included in the least-polluted of the three areas. The proposed uniform expiration rules for the consolation payments should also apply to Tamura and Kawauchi residents, said key headquarters official Shinji Inoue, former state minister of the environment.

The LDP team also said the two years through fiscal 2016 should be designated as a period of intensive assistance to help residents restore their independence in their hometowns.

The government should create a new assistance organization for that purpose, the team said, urging the government to instruct Tepco to compensate a wider range of businesses damaged by the nuclear disaster.

The team also said disaster-affected municipalities should cover a portion of the costs for some reconstruction projects. So far, the central government, which had placed responsibility for both promoting nuclear energy and overseeing the industry under the same ministry for decades, has been footing the entire bill.

Source : Japan Times

Nuclear disaster evacuees voice doubts about LDP recovery plan

Evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster have voiced skepticism over a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) plan to lift evacuation recommendations for all but the most heavily contaminated areas by March 2017, questioning whether decontamination will have advanced sufficiently by then.

The plan would lift evacuation recommendations for all areas except those with the most severe designation by March 2017. Compensation for emotional stress of 100,000 yen per month per resident would continue to be paid across the board until one year after that.

Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, could have its evacuation recommendation lifted as early as this summer. Under the current system, compensation to its residents would end next summer, but if the LDP plan is adopted, compensation would be extended for as long as a year and a half.

Miyoko Matsumoto, 84, who evacuated from Naraha to adjacent Iwaki, lives alone in temporary housing.

“I am glad that the compensation will be extended, but money is not the only reason that I cannot go back,” she says.

While she wants to return to her hometown, her home there was badly damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and needs to be rebuilt. However, with construction workers busy rebuilding the area, she doesn’t know when her turn will come. She adds, “If the neighbors don’t come back with me, I won’t be able to live there, as my legs and back are weak.”

Another evacuee, Fumitaka Kanazawa, 58, fled with his family from the town of Namie to the city of Fukushima.

“Will the evacuation recommendation really be lifted by March 2017?” he asked doubtfully.

Under the decontamination plan for Namie, removal of radioactive materials is scheduled to be completed by March 2017, but that is three years behind the initial schedule.

“They probably timed the lifting of evacuation recommendations and the end of compensation payments to lessen the financial burden on Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO),” he says.

The LDP plan states that “for the two years through the end of next fiscal year, the national government will guide TEPCO into providing proper compensation” for businesses and industries affected by the nuclear disaster. For the period after that, however, it only states, “We will react appropriately according to individual circumstances.”

Mikiko Matsumoto, 64, used to run a craft store with her family in the village of Katsurao, which is also subject to an evacuation recommendation. The business had continued for over 100 years.

“Now I am getting by on compensation payments, but what will I do if they end?” she asks. Although she wants to reopen her store in the old location, there will likely only be a limited number of residents who return to the village.

“I can’t receive compensation forever, but it is obvious that sales will be lower than before the disaster,” she says.

Katsurao Mayor Masahide Matsumoto comments, “Not everyone will come back, so many people will see fewer sales than before if they resume business here. Support will be needed for some time even after residents return.”

Source : Mainichi


May 22, 2015 - Posted by | Japan | ,

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