The Environment Ministry has sought a record ¥522.3 billion in its budget proposal for fiscal 2016, with most of the spend related to decontamination work in areas affected by the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
The proposed figure for the year from April, presented at a meeting led by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s environment policy division on Wednesday, was up from some ¥450 billion in this summer’s budget request.
The increase reflected higher-than-expected costs for decontamination work shouldered by the Fukushima Prefecture government, which hosts Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant, the site of the nuclear accident.
Decontamination work is conducted by municipalities, backed by financial support from the central government.
The government also plans to book some ¥78.3 billion for decontamination costs in a fiscal 2015 supplementary budget proposal.
With municipalities aiming to finish decontamination work by the end of fiscal 2016, the central government will look to help accelerate the efforts by boosting the budget.
In the fiscal 2016 budget proposal, the ministry also included some ¥134.6 billion mainly for maintenance costs for interim facilities where contaminated soil is temporarily kept.
A further ¥214 billion is for costs related to the disposal of radioactive substances and other designated waste produced by the nuclear accident.