Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe unveiled a plan on June 1 to accept the central government’s decision to reclassify the town’s no-go zone into three areas on condition that the same amount of compensation should be paid to residents over their mental or asset damage caused by the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The central government has decided to reclassify the no-go zone into three areas in line with radiation levels — the first zone, where residents can move freely, the second, where their visits are still limited, and the third, where they will not be able to return for a long period of time.
The mayor also showed that the residents need to issue a declaration that they would not return to their hometown for at least five years after the no-go zone is reclassified into the three areas to reject different amounts of damages in line with the reclassification of the no-go zone.
Watanabe showed the plan in a meeting of all the town assembly members held in the city of Aizuwakamatsu, where the town government has established its administrative functions.
Much of the no-go zone in Okuma, where 95 percent of the town’s 11,500 residents live, is expected to be reclassified into the area where they will not be able to return for at least five years.
The central government plans to set the amount of damages for people in this category higher than those for other areas where residents can move freely or their visits are limited. The town government has rejected what it considers discriminatory treatment and called for equal payment of damages to people in the three categories. The central government is expected to show its policy over the matter at an early date in June.
If an agreement is reached with the central government over the matter, the Okuma town government plans to launch talks with the town assembly whether to accept the reclassification plan. If an agreement cannot be reached, the town government plans to continue talks with the central government.
After attending the closed-door session of all the town assembly members, Watanabe told reporters that the town government wishes to establish the living environment for residents as early as possible, noting that they are worried about the unforeseeable future. He also asked the central government to act more speedily.