Business owners seek help in evacuated areas around nuclear plant

Sendai Airport March 2011The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) not only is dealing with a leaky nuclear power reactor but business owners who have been evacuated from areas around the damaged Fukushima plant want compensation. Most of them have been unable to return to their homes to get work tools or supplies, and have been living in shelters since the evacuation took place.

Since nuclear damage is not a covered peril under most insurance plans, these businesses have been left on their own to manage.

A group of twenty people, made the trip to Tokyo, well over 100 miles away, to appeal to the president of TEPCO for immediate assistance. The group, consisting mainly of business owners and laborers, was afraid that if the government and TEPCO entered into compensation negotiations for all the victims, they would be waiting a painfully long time for help they urgently need, now.

Tokyo Electric’s president apologized for the situation and promised that payments would be processed as soon as possible, and that they were working diligently to get the reactor leaks at Fukushima under control. In earlier conferences TEPCO had promised to give all towns, who had to be evacuated 20 million yen each (around 240,000 U.S. dollars).

Japan has the third largest economy in the world, which the government downgraded for the first time since the fall season of 2010. Ports, factories and all modes of transportation received damage in the disaster last month that killed over ten thousand people (with 15 thousand still missing).

Several farmers that live in the areas near Fukushima had to dispose of milk due to radiation contamination concerns. Other cities and towns have had their produce shipments banned and shiitake mushrooms grown outside were recently added to the “banned” list.

In a bit of good news, the Sendai airport has partially opened, and started making a few daytime only flights. For the time being, they are hoping this will help with relief efforts in other devastated areas of Japan. The airport had been closed since the massive quake and tsunami inundated the coastal airfield on March 11th.

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