Several employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) are accusing the utility operator of asking their families to return the compensation money for their evacuation during the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. Aside from families of employees, thousands of residents were asked to leave the surrounding areas of the plant due to radiation fears and until now are unable to return to their homes.
One particular employee’s family has received a letter from TEPCO, demanding that they return the 30 million yen (approx. US$288,000) they have received so far. They were living in a rented house near the area but transferred to another place in the summer of 2011. TEPCO is insisting that since they moved houses, their evacuation status had officially ended. Four other families of employees have reported they have also received letters from TEPCO asking they return the money, with two families needing to pay over 10 million yen ($96,000) each.
Government guidelines state that TEPCO has to pay the nuclear disaster evacuees as compensation for the mental anguish of being ripped from their usual life before the nuclear accident, considered the worst in the last 25 years. TEPCO has been paying 100,000 yen ($960) per month under the guidelines set by the central government. Residents of the no-go zone around the Fukushima plant can also demand for a lump sum compensation covering a five-year period starting June 2012.
The families of employees have consulted a lawyer, Tsuyoshi Kamata, to deal with the demand letter. He called TEPCO’s actions “impermissible” and asked the company to start improving itself. An official from the company’s PR department had this to say, “We respond to demands for compensation from our employees as well as their families in an appropriate manner.”
[ via Mainichi ]