Tepco to compensate nuclear evacuees for mental distress

Kyodo

A government panel is requiring Tokyo Electric Power Co. to compensate people for mental distriss after they were forced to evacuate due to the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to a guideline adopted Tuesday.

The 10-member panel under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology also agreed that the utility will extend coverage of its provisional payments to include some 7,000 small and midsize companies in the no-go zone around the plant.

The panel issued its second guideline on compensation for the crisis on the same day Tepco began making provisional payments to farmers and fishermen suffering from shipment restrictions. Those payments are being made under the government’s first guideline released about a month ago.

The firm paid some ¥500 million out of claims totaling about ¥3.4 billion from three groups in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures, and is preparing to pay other claims from groups in Fukushima, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, it said.

In the second guideline, the panel categorized the evacuees into four groups depending on the place of evacuation and will decide the amount of damages to each group at a future meeting, officials said.

The largest sum will likely be paid to evacuees taking shelter at public facilities such as school gymnasiums, because the panel plans to take living conditions into account, they said.

The panel also decided to make Tepco cover lost revenue at hotels and inns in Fukushima Prefecture, such as from cancellations, due to fear of radiation.

As for similar damage to farm and seafood products, it covered all edible produce in Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures where some items’ shipments were restricted or placed under voluntary controls by the end of April, plus three municipalities in Chiba.

As for green tea and processed foods, the panel will later study whether to calculate and cover losses caused by fears of the spread of radioactive materials after analyzing market trends, the officials said.

The panel worked out its first guideline in late April and recognized losses caused by restrictions and voluntary controls on shipments of farm and seafood products and the evacuation cost of residents as damages from the nuclear crisis, but did not cover losses caused by radiation fears.