Disaster Reconstruction Minister Tatsuo Hirano told Fukushima Gov Yuhei Sato on Saturday that the central government cannot afford to pay for free medical care for children aged 18 or younger in the prefecture.
Sato had made the request when he met Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Jan 8. At that time, Noda responded that the health and welfare of residents in the disaster-hit region was his government’s top priority.
Hirano told Sato that it would not be possible to change the nation's health care system to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to be exempt from health insurance payments, NHK reported. He said that all prefectures have to be treated equally.
Hirano also said that it would be difficult over time to determine which injuries and illnesses were directly related to the nuclear accident.© Japan Today