Tepco to beef up Fukushima reconstruction headquarters workforce to facilitate compensation

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will beef up the workforce at its Fukushima reconstruction headquarters to speed up the compensation process for nuclear disaster claimants and the decontamination of radioactive areas, Tepco Vice President Yoshiyuki Ishizaki said.

The Fukushima headquarters needs to increase its permanent staff to take charge of compensation for property losses, Ishizaki, the chief of the headquarters, said in a recent interview, noting the government’s compensation dispute panel is coming up with new guidelines for nuclear accident damages to be paid by the company.

At present, the reconstruction head office, based in the city of Fukushima, has some 4,000 employees. But Tepco intends to increase the number by relocating officials at some 10 branches to be abolished under a special three-year business plan to be drawn up by the end of the year.

The Fukushima head office may add several hundred new permanent staffers under the business plan, sources said.

Since its establishment in January, the reconstruction headquarters has paid ¥3 trillion in compensation to those affected by the calamity that started in March 2011 at the tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, by mobilizing some 10,000 Tepco workers, including Tokyo head office officials.

Acknowledging criticism from local residents that Tepco has responded slowly to compensation claims, Ishizaki said, “Though we believe we are doing our jobs in a fair, transparent and nondiscriminatory manner, we have yet to satisfy every person.”

But Tepco’s reconstruction chief noted an increasing number of residents have voiced thanks for decontamination work.

As for the expected lifting of some evacuation advisories in the prefecture from next year, Ishida said

“It is important to secure jobs for returning residents and help farmers restart businesses,” he said.