Japan orders compensation for nuclear plant evacuees

Japan's government ordered the operator of a tsunami-damaged nuclear plant today to pay £7,330 to each household forced to evacuate because of leaking radiation, but some of the displaced criticised the handout as too little.



Tens of thousands of residents unable to return to their homes near the nuclear plant are bereft of their livelihoods and possessions, unsure of when, if ever, they will be able to return home. Some have travelled hundreds of miles to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s headquarters in Tokyo to press their demands for compensation.



TEPCO will start paying compensation on 28 April, with families forced to evacuate getting 1 million yen (about £7,330) and individuals getting 750,000 yen, Trade Ministry spokesman Hiroaki Wada said.



"There are around 150 evacuation centers alone. It will take some time until everyone gets money. But we want the company to quickly do this to support people's lives," Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said at a news conference.



The arrangement is a provisional one, with more compensation expected, Wada said. Roughly 48,000 households living within about 19 miles of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant would be eligible for the payments.



"I'm not satisfied," said Kazuko Suzuki, a 49-year-old single mother of two teenagers from the town of Futuba, adjacent to the plant. She has lived at a shelter at a high school north of Tokyo for the last month.



Her family has had to buy clothes, food, shampoo and other basics because they fled the area on government orders without taking time to pack. She has lost her job as a welfare worker, and a job prospect for her 18-year-old fell through because of the effects of the disaster.



"We've had to spend money on so many extra things and we don't know how long this could go on," she said.



Akemi Osumi, a 48-year-old mother of three also from Futuba, said the money was a "small step" but that it didn't fairly compensate larger families. Her family is living at the same shelter but also must rent an apartment for her eldest son to go to a vocational school.



"One million yen doesn't go very far," she said. "I'm not convinced at just 1 million yen per family. If it was dependent on the size of the family I'd understand, but it's not."



TEPCO's president, Masataka Shimizu, formally announced the plan, saying he wanted the payments to be made "fairly and quickly."



TEPCO expects to pay 50 billion yen in government-ordered compensation. But Shimizu said 2 trillion yen was needed to resolve the continuing problems with the plant and to restart conventional power stations to make up for power shortages.



The company is still struggling to stabilise the nuclear plant, which saw its cooling systems fail after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on 11 March triggered a massive tsunami that wrecked emergency backup systems as well as much of the plant's regular equipment.



Radiation leaks from the crisis have contaminated crops and left fishermen in the region unable to sell their catches, a huge blow to an area heavily dependent on fishing and farming.



The governor of Fukushima, Yuhei Sato, has vigorously criticized both TEPCO and the government for their handling of the disaster, demanding faster action.



"This is just a beginning. The accident has not ended. We will continue to ask the government and TEPCO to fully compensate evacuees."



Nearly 140,000 people are still living in shelters after losing their homes or being advised to evacuate because of concerns about radiation.



Seeking to console evacuees, Japan's emperor visited the country's disaster zone for the first time yesterday.



In Asahi, where 13 people were killed and some 3,000 homes damaged, Emperor Akihito, 77, and Empress Michiko got their first look at the devastation, somberly gazing at a plot of land where a home once stood and also commiserating with evacuees at two shelters.



The royal couple kneeled on mats to speak quietly with the survivors, who bowed in gratitude and wiped away tears. One evacuee with Down syndrome, who has trouble speaking, wrote "I will keep striving" in a small notebook that he showed to the emperor and empress. Asahi is about 55 miles east of Tokyo.



Even as the month-old emergency dragged on, radiation levels dropped enough for police sealed in white protective suits, goggles and blue gloves to begin searching for bodies amid the muddy debris inside a six-mile radius around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that had been off-limits.



Authorities believe up to 1,000 bodies are lodged in the debris. A police spokesman, who gave only the surname Sato, said searchers were working today to recover three of the 10 bodies they located on Thursday that were trapped in cars or debris.



Overall, the bodies of only about 13,500 of the more than 26,000 people believed killed in the March 11 disaster have been recovered. Many of the remaining victims are believed to have been washed out to sea.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Development Manager (District Heating)

£55000 Per Annum plus company car and bonus scheme: The Green Recruitment Comp...

Chemical Engineer/Project Coordinator

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Chemical Eng...

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn