Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has flatly refused a proposal by the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center (ADR) to increase compensation payments for psychological damage suffered by people from the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie, near the company’s crippled nuclear power plant.
The center had proposed increasing monthly compensation payments for roughly 15,000 people in the town by 50,000 yen to 150,000 yen each.
TEPCO’s unusual refusal of the center’s settlement proposal could raise questions over the value of the center’s existence. Angry town officials say the company has completely failed to understand the pain of victims, and the town has submitted a petition to the center, calling for it to persuade TEPCO to accept the proposal.
About 70 percent of residents from the town sought resolution through the ADR in May last year, with the town acting as their proxy. They requested that the government’s interim guidelines for psychological damage resulting from the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant be increased from 100,000 yen to 350,000 yen.
In March this year, the center said that psychological damage had increased from when the government guidelines were set, and proposed that the amount of compensation for the second and third years from the disaster be increased by 50,000 yen per month to 150,000 yen (an overall increase of about 1.2 million yen). For people aged 75 or over, the center proposed granting an additional 30,000 yen per month.
In a response dated June 25, TEPCO argued that the center had accepted a blanket increase without considering the individual circumstances of the petitioners, and that this deviated from guidelines. It added that from the perspective of fairness with other evacuees, the increase would have too much of an effect.
The compensation amount in Namie alone exceeds 20 billion yen, and TEPCO is apparently concerned about the effects any increases could have on other municipalities. Regarding additional funds for the elderly, TEPCO said the payment should be restricted to those who are injured or ill and set at 20,000 yen per month.
Under three pledges in a comprehensive business plan that TEPCO submitted to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in December last year, the utility stated that it would “respect ADR settlement proposals.” The company had never refused settlement proposals involving residents who were not employed by TEPCO.
“By breaking the three pledges, (TEPCO) has betrayed its loyalty and been incredibly insincere,” Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba said.
Filed under: 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident