Tokyo Electric Power Co. has settled with the family of a woman from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, who died as a result of the meltdown calamity at the utility’s stricken nuclear plant, sources said.
This is the first time Tepco has admitted a causal link between the death of an evacuee and the nuclear disaster at its Fukushima No. 1 plant. In all, 183 settlement cases have been made public by a government-run nuclear accident dispute settlement center.
According to the sources, the woman, who was hospitalized in the Odaka district of Minamisoma, died in April last year after she was forced to evacuate at the start of the crisis, the worst such incident since the 1987 Chernobyl disaster.
A former adviser to the Japanese cabinet has revealed the government has known for months that thousands of evacuees from around the Fukushima nuclear plant will not be able to return to their homes.
Nearly seven months after the meltdowns at Fukushima, about 80,000 people are still living in shelters or temporary housing.
Former special adviser to Japan’s prime minister and cabinet Kenichi Matsumoto has told the ABC that the government has known for months that many who live close to the Fukushima plant will not be able to return to their homes for 10 to 20 years because of contamination.
The owner of Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear plant will pay an estimated $1 billion (88 billion yen) to thousands of residents who evacuated homes near the radiation-leaking plant and don’t yet know when they can return.
Compensation Tokyo Electric Power Co. ultimately may pay for the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster is expected to be trillions of yen.
Japan’s Cabinet last week approved a bill to help TEPCO meet the massive costs, and parliamentary approval is pending. It would establish a fund from public money and contributions from utilities and special government bonds.
Small business owners and laborers forced to leave their homes and jobs because of radiation leaking from Japan’s tsunami-flooded nuclear plant rode a bus all the way to Tokyo on Wednesday to demand compensation from the plant’s operator.
People are increasingly growing frustrated with Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s handling of the nuclear crisis, which has progressed fitfully since the March 11 tsunami swamped the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, knocking out important cooling systems. Restoring them will take months.
"I am not asking for anything more than I am entitled to," said Ichijiro Ishikawa, 69, who dug roads and tunnels and is now living in a shelter because his home is in a 12-mile (20-kilometer) evacuation zone around the plant. "I just want my due."