Fukushima victims to pay back compensation

6 years ago by in Featured, Japan

fukushima checksTwo years after the nuclear accident at Fukushima plant, the nuclear industry is accused of evading its responsibilities.

The victims of the nuclear disaster in 2011 were almost forgotten after being placed in little, so-called temporary apartments spread across Japan. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima plant, paid “temporary compensation” to the victims, but now people have to pay back the money, the international press reports.

Yukiko Kameya, 68, is one of these victims. She used to live in the town of Futaba, close to the Fukushima nuclear plant, until the tsunami on March 11, 2011. After the nuclear accident, she was moved in a small public housing apartment in Tokyo and received initially $18,000 in compensation from TEPCO. However, she has to pay back $11,000 of the total sum.

“We were living just 1.2 kilometres from the plant, and we escaped with nothing but the clothes on our back,” she said. “We had that money deducted from our compensation. I was surprised, so I called TEPCO and said that they were using dirty tricks, that they were using fraud. Why did they give it to us to if we had to pay it back?”

Companies that were involved in designing and building the Fukushima reactors, such as General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi, are not required to pay a cent in compensation, a Greenpeace report states.

Aslihan Tumer, Greenpeace’s international nuclear project leader, says some of the companies are still profiting from the reactor.

“Nuclear suppliers are completely protected from accepting any liability or being held accountable in case of an accident,” he said.”GE designed Fukushima Mark 1 reactor, and GE, Hitachi and Toshiba built and continued servicing the reactor, and they are also still making, in some cases, money out of the cleaning efforts, as well as the contamination.”

With the operator TEPCO nationalized, the Japanese taxpayer is now paying most of the compensation bill for the disaster.