The operator of the crippled nuclear complex in Fukushima Prefecture has only paid 6 percent of the compensation sought by municipalities in connection with the 2011 nuclear crisis, according to a recent tally.
The delay in payments to the 12 municipalities designated by the government as evacuation zones highlights the continuing challenge to their reconstruction efforts six years after the nuclear disaster, triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.
The tally found that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. had by the end of 2016 paid around ¥2.6 billion of the ¥43.3 billion demanded by the 12 local governments.
As some municipalities have been forced to shoulder most of the costs for Tepco, local residents have raised concerns that the situation could delay reconstruction.
The utility has prioritized its compensation to individuals and companies, saying that as of March 3, it had paid a total of around ¥7 trillion in connection with around 2,549,000 cases, about 93 percent of the total number.
Among the municipalities, the town of Futaba, where the Fukushima No. 1 plant is located and all of its residents remain evacuated, has received no compensation despite its demand for around ¥19.3 billion.
The town of Namie — where part of its evacuation order will be lifted at the end of the month — has received around ¥460 million, 4 percent of the amount demanded.
“Compensation (from Tepco) is necessary to go forward with reconstruction. We’ll call for early payment,” a Futaba official said.
Tepco has primarily paid compensation to municipalities to cover personnel costs for dealing with the nuclear disaster and relocation costs for local government offices as well as to supplement tax revenues.
Some municipalities have received more compensation than others as they have prioritized payments for such purposes.
The towns of Kawamata and Tomioka have been paid about 53 percent and 45 percent of the amounts demanded, respectively.
The delay in paying compensation is fueling concerns about the future.
“If compensation (for local governments) does not move forward, it will spark concern among residents over the town’s reconstruction efforts,” said Futoshi Hirono, who heads a residents’ association in Kawamata.