A compensation plan for farmers and fishermen who suffered losses because of rumors surrounding the nuclear crisis will initially offer payments only to businesses in the areas where the government imposed shipping restrictions, sources say.
A panel conducted by Prof. Yoshihisa Nomi from Gakushuin University is working on the plan and may submit a final draft to the authorities by Tuesday.
According to the sources, only businesses in Fukushima, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Gunma prefectures, along with three municipalities in Chiba Prefecture will be granted the right to receive compensation for losses caused by rumors on the toxic substances leaked from the Fukushima nuclear plant, heavily affected by the March quake and tsunami that struck All Japan news. Eligible areas may be later expanded.
Compensation will be awarded to hotels and other tourism businesses in Fukushima Prefecture as well. However, payments in return for psychological distress of the evacuated people is unlikely to be covered by the draft, the sources say.
Although “rumors” can refer to groundless information, the panel acknowledged that the lack of confidence of the consumers directly and seriously affects the sales of the businesses in the affected areas.
The authorities have demanded TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima plant, to pay about ¥13.4 billion ($165 million) in compensation to agricultural businesses, as a result of bans imposed on shipments. As the crisis drags on, the amount may increase, experts say. [DailyYomiuri, Asahi] [Photo by Max.Takaki]