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Nuclear redress gap angers Fukushima residents via Mainichi

The Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center (ADR) lacks flexibility over the guidelines set by the committee under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and is losing the trust of Fukushima residents.

Some residents are filing suit to seek additional compensation after their compensation has been cut off, but lawsuits themselves are threatening to become a burden on nuclear disaster victims. One expert pointed out the need for a framework for smoothly resolving redress problems.

During a town policy meeting for Tomioka, which was held in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki on Feb. 12, residents expressed their displeasure to senior town officials over unfairness in compensation amounts, asking them to request the central government to limit such gaps to a minimum.

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A uniform amount of compensation was granted exceptionally to residents of the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which mainly fall in no-go zones. But the town of Tomioka has a mix of the three zones, prompting town residents to complain about different amounts of compensation.

”Most town residents are giving up on returning home. I cannot understand why there are different amounts of compensation,” 67-year-old Choichi Watanabe said at the Tomioka town policy meeting. He said his house in the domicile restriction zone is not habitable because the attic has corroded due to a leaky roof and tatami mats have gone moldy.

Kazunori Watanabe, a 40-year-old judicial scrivener who has received inquiries from his fellow Tomioka residents, said, ”All town residents evacuated together and have been through a lot. Their pain arising from losing their hometown is the same and compensation should be across the board,” he says.

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The return of residents to the neighboring village of Kawauchi has not progressed much, either. Hirono Mayor Satoshi Endo and Kawauchi Mayor Yuko Endo on Feb. 5 petitioned the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to continue compensation payments and to take other measures.

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