Tepco also must pay redress for unfounded radiation fears: Kan

Kyodo

In a move certain to encourage farmers, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Sunday that any compensation for the nuclear plant crisis paid by Tokyo Electric Power Co. should cover all damages — including that caused by unfounded radiation fears.

A similar view was expressed earlier by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

An advisory panel under the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry is compiling guidelines on how to cover such damages.

In its initial guidelines in late April, the panel did not include farm and fishery losses linked to such fears but is now planning to cover them in its next guidelines if they are closely related to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet agreed over the weekend to delay making a decision on creating a new entity to help Tokyo Electric, also known as Tepco, compensate victims of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant crisis, officials said.

The relevant ministers, ending their second straight day of talks Sunday, agreed Saturday to demand that Tepco carry out further restructuring, such as by cutting director-level compensation and selling off assets, to secure funds to pay victims of the radiation leaks at the plant.

But they could not come to an agreement on the funding entity, which is expected to require fund contributions from Tepco and eight other electric utilities that operate nuclear power plants. The stumbling block appeared to be concern that the firms could resort to raising people’s electricity bills to secure enough funds for the envisaged entity.

Under the plan, Tepco would be required in principle to shoulder all compensation. But a special law is being eyed to create the new entity that would make up for any shortfall using the utilities’ contributions.