evacuation zone, fukushima, fukushima minpo, futaba, legal, okuma, relocation, return to fomer town

New type of residence certificate planned for evacuees from nuclear disaster, fukushima minpo, 10/24/2012

The central government is considering issuing a new type of residence certificate to evacuees from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

For evacuees who have yet to register their new addresses, the government is planning to issue certificates based on the places where they live now. Such evacuees who have failed to register their new addresses are facing various difficulties when they receive administrative services, such as seal registration, and in their daily lives, such as car purchases.

To issue the new evacuation place certificates, the government plans to consider such measures as revising related legislation, reviewing the operation of administrative services and issuing instructions to business operators.

Before starting talks with the central government, the Fukushima prefectural government will talk with the municipal governments in areas where evacuees from the nuclear disaster live about problems to be cleared toward the issuance of the new type of residence certificate.

The central government unveiled the plan to issue evacuation place certificates during talks on Oct. 23 in Fukushima city with the Fukushima prefectural government on measures against the long-term evacuation of residents from the nuclear disaster.

An official from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, who is in charge of the project, told the meeting that no double residence certificate can be accepted under the Constitution.

In response to a request from the Fukushima prefectural government for new residence certificates for the evacuees, the official said the ministry plans to work out measures for issuing certificates based on places where the evacuees currently live without letting them transfer their original residence certificates to the evacuation places.

Prefectural government officials said the evacuees cannot resister their seals with offices of the municipal governments in the area they live now if they do not transfer their original residence certificates to the evacuation places from the places where they lived before evacuation. Such evacuees need to visit local government offices for their original residence places or file their requests with them by mail to receive certificates of seal.

In addition, the evacuees are required to show their residence certificates to mobile phone carriers or automobile dealers when they purchase phone handsets or cars. They also face such inconveniences over credit-card contracts as card issuers will send the cards only to the addresses on the evacuees’ residence certificates.

The 2011 special law concerning evacuees from the nuclear disaster limits the scope of its coverage only to a number of fields, such as certification of those who need long-term care and students’ enrollment into or change of schools.

A large number of evacuees have failed to change their residence registry as they love their hometowns and wish to return to them at an early date, according to municipal governments which have also moved their offices to other municipalities in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster.

Katsutaka Idogawa, mayor of the town of Futaba which, together with the town of Okuma, hosts the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, said he hopes that the new type of residence certificate will be realized, noting some business corporations ask town residents to show their residence certificates in business deals.

An official of the Okuma municipal government said the new type of residence certificate would be convenient for residents who live in municipalities where the town has no branch offices.

Currently, the number of Fukushima Prefecture residents who have been forced to evacuate from their original residences to other places — both in and outside the prefecture — total 160,000.

About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.

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