In the face of strong opposition, the government has abandoned its plan to purchase all of the land needed to build temporary storage sites for radioactive debris, sources said.
The idea was dropped after some landowners at prospective sites refused to sell, fearing the storage facilities located near the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would end up being permanent.
Instead of purchasing all of the plots, the government now plans on leasing some of the land from landowners.
The government intends to construct the “intermediate storage facilities” in the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which jointly host the Fukushima plant. The government plans to purchase or lease 16 square kilometers of land in the two municipalities to house the storage facilities.
The government also pledged to the Fukushima prefectural government and the Futaba and Okuma town authorities on July 24 that it will enact a law stipulating that the radioactive materials will be moved out of the prefecture after 30 years.
The government also said it plans to increase the total amount of grants and other assistance for evacuees from 100 billion yen ($1 billion) to 150 billion yen for 30 years.
It made the decision after local governments said 100 billion yen is not enough to complete reconstruction projects in areas ravaged by the 2011 nuclear disaster triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The central government disclosed the plan to executives of the local governments on July 24.
Radiation levels in the towns of Futaba and Okuma remain high. More than 17,000 residents are still living as evacuees.