Japanese Disaster Funds Increase – But is it used wisely?

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The government panel for settling disputes over compensation for damage due to the nuclear crisis has added 23 cities, towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture to the range of municipalities covered by an additional guideline.  The Japanese government also plans to raise the limit of its financial assistance to the state-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, tasked with financing the troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co., from 2 trillion yen to 5 trillion yen.

As the government has already established a 5 trillion yen fund to issue government bonds as the source of its financial assistance to TEPCO for compensation related to the crisis at the Fukushima plant, the utility will be provided with about 10 trillion yen in state funding if necessary.

The government intends to place Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) under its control in a bid to take the initiative in reforming the crisis-hit utility and carrying through fundamental reform of its energy policy.

The committee decided on compensation payment amounts of 400,000 yen for minors aged 18 and younger and pregnant women, and 80,000 yen per person for other adults.

The new guideline covers about 1.5 million people and the total amount of the compensation will be about 200 billion yen.

The panel decided compensation to victims for evacuation costs and business losses should be sought from the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., on an individual basis.

When the compensation amounts were announced, voices of discontent could be heard. “I wish the actual amounts of our expenses would be covered,” one of the evacuees said.

Saeko Uno, 40, who voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima to Fukuoka Prefecture with her 4-year-old daughter, was disappointed with the compensation amounts set by the panel.

“I feel the amounts were decided without any basis,” she said.  “We are approaching the limit to living life separately as evacuees,” she said.

Wataru Sugimoto, 33, who voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima to Kawasaki, said he spent about 300,000 yen over three weeks alone after the March 11 disaster on food and hotel expenses for four adults in his family, which includes his parents.

As his expenses since then have been high, he said the compensation amounts were “far from sufficient.”

He said he intended to file a complaint to the government’s center for dispute settlements over nuclear disaster compensation.

Miki Nakamura, a 36-year-old nutritionist who has lived as an evacuee with her three daughters in Yamagata Prefecture since August, is not optimistic about receiving further compensation.

“I’m afraid assistance to us will be seen as complete with this measure,” she said.

Japan is spending 2.3 billion yen ($29 million) from its supplementary budget for tsunami reconstruction to fund the country’s annual whaling hunt in the Antarctic Ocean, a fisheries official confirmed Thursday.

The Japanese government has passed supplementary budgets totalling 18 trillion yen ($230 billion) for reconstruction after the March 11 tsunami. Nearly all the items are rebuilding projects, including nearly 500 billion yen for fisheries projects directly in the region, but some, including the whaling expedition, appear less directly related.

Source: Mainichi

Source: Yomiuri

Source: Mainichi

Source: Yomiuri

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