Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mayor of Fukushima town proposes residents stay away at least 5 years

AIZUWAKAMATSU, Fukushima -- The mayor of a radiation-contaminated town near the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant told assembly members June 1 that residents should stay away from the town for at least five years so they can secure equal compensation payments.

Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe is seeking assembly approval of a declaration that the town's evacuated residents will not return for a five-year period. After the rezoning of evacuation areas, 95 percent of the town's population of around 11,500 is expected to fall within zones that will remain off-limits for residents for at least five years, according to town officials. The other 5 percent could return, but realistically, the areas where their homes are situated would not be habitable.

As compensation payment methods and amounts differ between zones, the town government asked the national government to zone the entire town as being off-limits for five years. The national government responded that it would review its rezoning plan, but said that if town citizens returned at the same time, then it would pay them equal compensation. This led the mayor to propose that the town's residents not return for at least five years, which would allow them to receive the same amount of compensation.

The town government is considering extending an evacuation advisory for the whole town for five years under the Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act. Read More