Subsidies to region will continue

by Masami Ito

Staff Writer

The government does not intend to cut subsidies to prefectural and other local governments around the controversial Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture after it closes, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Monday.

Edano refused, however, to clarify whether the government plans to compensate its operator, Chubu Electric Power Co.

Edano made the remark before the utility held another special board meeting on the matter.

Local governments opting to host nuclear power plants receive special grants from the central government, with the size depending on the amount of power generated. About 80 percent of the subsidies are required to be handed out in the event the plants are shut down by natural disasters.

“There is a system that considers the plant to be operating as usual if it is stopped to secure safety from causes such as natural disasters,” Edano said. “A natural disaster did not occur this time but I think that this rule should be applied appropriately.”