Fukushima compensation increased to ¥7 trillion


The government has approved an increase in compensation payments for the Fukushima nuclear crisis to ¥7.07 trillion as tens of thousands of evacuees remain in temporary housing more than four years after the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will receive ¥950 billion more in public funds on top of the ¥6.125 trillion agreed earlier, the utility and the government said Tuesday.

The increase, which was agreed following a request by Tepco, adds to the taxpayers’ bill for the disaster.

Tepco has faced a stream of legal cases seeking compensation over the triple meltdown at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Electricity bills for households have also risen 25 percent since the catastrophe as the country resorted to importing more fossils fuels with the gradual shutdown of all reactors for safety checks and upgrades.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government and Tepco, which was bailed out by taxpayers in 2012, are undertaking an unprecedented decontamination project to lower radiation levels in towns closest to the plant, although some areas will likely remain off-limits for decades.

Inside the plant, Tepco has struggled to bring the situation under control and it is estimated removing the melted fuel from the wrecked reactors and cleaning up the site will cost trillions of yen and take decades to complete.

The government plans to revoke evacuation orders for most people forced from their homes by the disaster within two years as part of a plan to cap compensation payouts and speed up reconstruction.