October 16, 2013

The Basic Policy of the Nuclear Disaster Victims’ Support Act was approved by Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet on Oct 11. The final version of the Policy incorporated only very minor revisions of the previously-announced original draft. The victims of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, their supporters, municipalities and citizens submitted more than 5,000 public comments to the government. They also appealed to and negotiated with the Reconstruction Agency, but these voices were mostly ignored. The victims and their supporters specifically demanded the following:

1) The areas designated as eligible to government support (33 municipalities in Naka-dori and Hama-dori within Fukushima Prefecture) are too small, and the basis of designation is unclear. Additional 1mSv of radiation dose per year should be used as a designation criterion.

2) Coverage of Comprehensive Health Check should be extended beyond Fukushima Prefecture.

3) The existing, municipally-subsidized apartments (deemed temporary housing) should accept new applications and allow tenants to extend their leases for long periods and switch units. Public hearings should be held in various areas, and the Basic Policy should be reevaluated. Voices of the victims should be taken seriously.

Nevertheless, the government released its responses to these public comments after the Cabinet approved the Basic Policy. Such an action is truly regrettable because it goes against the spirit of the Victims’ Support Act that clearly stipulates that its implementation should “reflect victims’ opinions,”.

Together with the victims and their supporters, FoE Japan will aim to realize concrete support measures for the victims.

(Incidentally, Asahi Shimbun reported that “temporary housing will be maintained for longer periods than originally planned” on its front page on Oct 10, and the Kyodo news also reported that “the Basic Policy introduced the new possibility that Comprehensive Health Check will cover areas outside “Support-Coverage Areas”’ on Oct 9. Unfortunately, however, these reports are false, calling into question the quality of journalism in Japan. )


The Basic Policy of the Reconstruction Agency and the government’s answers to Public Comments are available at:
http://www.reconstruction.go.jp/topics/main-cat8/sub-cat8-1/20131010195834.html

For the problems on the Basic Policy, please see below:
Urgent Press Release
Basic Policy of the Nuclear Disaster Victims’ Support Act?“(Revised)Basic Policy” is regrettable because it ignored Public Comments.
http://www.foejapan.org/energy/news/131010.html

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