Nuclear plant evacuees call for bigger payouts

The operator of Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear plant said yesterday it would pay an initial £7,400 for each household that was forced to evacuate because of leaking radiation – a handout some displaced families said was 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 when, if ever, they will be able to return home.

Some have travelled hundreds of miles to the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to press the company president Masataka Shimizu for higher compensation. At the government's request, the company will start paying out roughly ¥50bn (£370m) in compensation from 28 April to those forced to evacuate; families will get ¥1m and single adults ¥750,000, the government said.

Roughly 48,000 households will be eligible for the payments. But many families are disappointed. "I'm not satisfied," said Kazuko Suzuki, a 49-year-old single mother of two teenagers from the town of Futuba, next to the plant. She has lived at a shelter at a high school north of Tokyo for the past month. "We've had to spend money on so many extra things and we don't know how long this could go on," she said.