Fukushima, March 24 (Jiji Press)–A fishery association in Fukushima Prefecture has agreed to accept releases of groundwater uncontaminated by radioactive substances into the ocean at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken nuclear power plant, officials said Monday.
The association plans to accept such releases on condition that TEPCO strengthens its groundwater radiation checks. The association is also demanding compensation from TEPCO for possible losses stemming from rumors about fishery product safety.
Hiroyuki Sato, head of the association, said after a meeting that the group has taken a painful decision because TEPCO faces a lack of space for tanks to store contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Releases of groundwater into the sea before it is contaminated are considered key to dealing with increasing volumes of water contaminated with radioactive substances from damaged reactors at the plant.
Another fishery association in the northeastern prefecture has already signaled its readiness to accept such groundwater releases.
Tokyo, March 4 (Jiji Press)–With labor shortages on construction sites holding up progress on disaster reconstruction in northeastern Japan, the Japanese government hopes to ease restrictions on the country’s job training system to attract more workers from overseas.
It remains uncertain, however, whether the proposed measures will go ahead as envisaged by the government, as some Japanese are persistently cautious about accepting foreign nationals into their country.
Three-Quarters of Peak Level
On Feb. 24, ahead of the third anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the government’s resolve to speed up the reconstruction of affected areas.
“More than 70 pct of the planned projects to relocate houses to upland areas and build public homes for disaster victims have started and it is finally time for construction work,” Abe told a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting.
Tokyo, Feb. 28 (Jiji Press)–The Reconstruction Agency will boost efforts to help people rebuild homes and strengthen community development in areas devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, reconstruction minister Takumi Nemoto has said.
The year 2014 is a very important year when substantial progress would be made in many reconstruction projects, including house construction and work to prepare bases for long-term evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture, home to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant damaged heavily by the disaster, he said.
“In Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, rebuilding the homes of disaster victims is more important than anything else,” he said in an interview ahead of the third anniversary of the catastrophe, adding that the agency will help as many people as possible move into new homes.
In Fukushima, recovery in the shadow of the nuclear accident is a challenging issue, he said.
By utilizing a recently launched subsidy program, the agency will do more to help lay the groundwork to enable evacuees from the nuclear disaster to return to their homes where possible, he added.
Tokyo, Nov. 8 (Jiji Press)–The Reconstruction Agency said Friday that it will grant Fukushima Prefecture and two municipalities there 7,634 million yen in subsidies for housing for evacuees from the March 2011 nuclear accident in the northeastern Japan prefecture.
In the second allocation of such state subsidies, the prefecture as well as the town of Kori and the village of Kawauchi will receive the money for construction of public housing and parking lots for the long-term evacuees.
The Fukushima prefectural government plans to build 3,700 public housing units in total by fiscal 2015 for evacuees from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. It will use the coming funds to acquire land lots for 563 units in the cities of Minamisoma and Iwaki.
The subsidy program was created in the current fiscal year to March, with 50.3 billion yen in the pipeline. By the end of December, the agency plans to invite applications for the third allocation.
The government hopes to partly lift its evacuation order starting Nov. 1 at a district within the 20-km no-go zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to sources.
The government will present a plan to lift the order for the Miyakoji district, located in the city of Tamura in Fukushima Prefecture, at a meeting with residents Monday, the sources said.
The period in which Miyakoji residents are allowed to visit the area for long stays to prepare for their permanent return is set to expire at the end of October.
The long-stay program was launched in August following the completion in Miyakoji of work to remove radioactive substances emitted by the March 2011 triple meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant.
Miyakoji would be the first district to see the evacuation order lifted among those falling within the no-go zone designated by the government soon after the nuclear crisis was triggered by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. If the order is removed, Miyakoji residents would be able to return to their homes without restrictions.
But local concerns about an early lifting of the evacuation order remain strong. If many residents express caution at Monday’s meeting, the government may extend the long-stay program and delay lifting the order until December or later, the sources said.
Miyakoji is currently an area in which preparations are being made for a possible lifting of the evacuation order and the permanent return of residents. The district was reclassified in April 2012, as the annual radiation dose per person was found to be 20 millisieverts or less.
Officials from the Cabinet Office and the Environment Ministry, as well as Tamura Mayor Yukei Tomitsuka, will take part in Monday’s meeting, the sources said.
The central and municipal governments will propose lifting the evacuation order and will then solicit residents’ opinions. The government and the municipality will also explain support measures, including a plan to distribute dosimeters to those returning home.
The city will further present a progress report on setting up a makeshift shopping area in Miyakoji and explain plans to call on a major convenience store chain to establish an outlet in the district, the sources said.
The central and local governments will consider further support measures if they are requested by local residents.