TOKYO (Nikkei)–The government will likely provide financial assistance to municipalities that accept evacuees from towns near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, to encourage a large number of evacuees to move into new places, The Nikkei learned Friday.
The assistance is aimed at reducing the financial burdens of local host governments and giving a much-needed boost to the “temporary town” plan, which was drawn up by the four towns closest to the crippled nuclear power plant, Namie, Futaba, Okuma, Tomioka, all in Fukushima Prefecture. It is expected to cost tens of billions of yen to move all the evacuees to new places.
Under this plan, these four municipalities will move their administrative functions, schools and houses to other towns and cities indefinitely. The four towns plan to build such infrastructure in cooperation with the Fukushima prefectural government and host municipalities. They also aim to construct public housing for evacuees as well as roads, water-related facilities and shops.
A total of about 50,000 evacuees come from the four towns. Host candidate municipalities, namely Iwaki and Nihonmatsu, would be financially strained if all 50,000 were taken on. Therefore, the central government hopes to help move the plan forward by extending financial assistance.
It still remains unclear how soon radiation levels will decrease in towns and villages in Fukushima’s Futaba area. Worst-case scenarios have the former residents living away from their hometowns for decades.