JAPAN | Revised bill on nuclear compensation passes lower house panel

Posted on July 27, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 27 July 2011

Prefectural officials interview livestock farmers after radioactive cesium was detected in cattle raised in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 10. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A modified bill to ensure the swift payment of compensation to people and industries affected by Japan’s nuclear crisis passed a lower house panel Tuesday, raising the prospect that it will be approved by both chambers of the Diet next week.

The original bill submitted by the government has been revised to more clearly stipulate the state’s responsibility for compensation, but there is no change regarding the provision by a state-backed entity of financial assistance to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan stressed the need for the special committee of the House of Representatives to swiftly pass the bill, saying the state has a “big” responsibility in making the utility pay compensation to the victims without a hitch.

By creating an entity that can receive funds through a special type of government bond as well as annual contributions from all utilities operating nuclear plants, the government hopes to ensure quick payment of compensation over the country’s worst nuclear power accident, which could total trillions of yen.

The revised bill is expected to be passed by the lower house during a plenary session on Thursday and then sent to the House of Councillors for final Diet approval next week.

In this March 15, 2011 photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co., smoke rises from the badly damaged Unit 3 reactor, left, next to the Unit 4 reactor covered by an outer wall at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex in Okuma, northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

The bill includes an article stating that all possible measures would be taken by the government to ensure compensation, and promises a revision of the current law related to compensation in the event of an accident at nuclear power plants.
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