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Families living near Japan plant to get $11,700: reports

06 april 2011, 15:41
RIA Novosti©
RIA Novosti©
Japanese families living near a nuclear plant hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami will receive an initial payment of around a million yen in compensation, reports said Wednesday.

The earthquake and tsunami that hit northeast Japan on March 11 knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, triggering explosions and fires that caused radioactive smoke and water to leak into the air, AFP reports.

Tens of thousands of people living in a 20-kilometre (13-mile) zone around the plant were ordered to leave due to fears over radiation, while others living nearby were told to stay indoors and encouraged to evacuate if possible.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant's operator, is considering an initial payment of one million yen ($11,700) to each household affected by the accident, public broadcaster NHK and TBS Television reported.

Trade minister Banri Kaieda said this week the payment, which is intended to provide temporary relief to those affected by the disaster and not as final compensation, should be made swiftly.

He said he had ordered the utility firm to come up with a plan "because I believe TEPCO should shoulder the burden of compensating for damage caused by the plant accident".

The government also said the fishing industry would receive compensation for loss of income, after a ban on fishing in the 20-kilometre exclusion zone was imposed.

Industry cooperatives have also voluntarily stopped fishing in certain areas near the plant but outside the exclusion zone to try to avoid a potentially devastating loss of consumer confidence.

Radioactive iodine with a concentration of more than double the new government safe limits was found in a small fish known as a konago, or sand lance, caught off Ibaraki, south of the plant.

"The government will of course include the fishing industry, which has been affected and damaged by this accident, for compensation," said the chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano on Wednesday.

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