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TEPCO to start payments to small business owners for losses

24 Comments

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Thursday outlined the standards to be used to pay compensation to small business owners for losses incurred due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11.

TEPCO officials said that individual and small business owners located in the 20-kilometer no-go radiation zone, who had to close their operations, will receive the equivalent of last year's gross profit in compensation, NHK reported.

For companies that remained open but suffered a decrease in sales, TEPCO said it will pay an as-yet unspecified percentage of the losses, NHK said. TEPCO said it expects to compensate up to 300,000 farmers and small business owners and will begin payments by the end of October.

Meanwhile, Jiji Press reported that the utility will not fully compensate losses incurred by businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry in Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures.

In drawing up its guidelines, TEPCO used relevant data after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe and said that factors other than radiation fears have contributed to a decline in tourism revenue by an average 20% since March 11, Jiji reported.

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I don't understand why TEPCO is making these payments. It doesn't seem fair for them to be paying for what happened because of a natural disaster. Shouldn't this all be handled by insurance companies?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I don't understand why TEPCO is making these payments. It doesn't seem fair for them to be paying for what happened because of a natural disaster. Shouldn't this all be handled by insurance companies?

You sound like a TEPCO employee?

On 3/11, the earthquake and tsunami were 100% natural ones, while the nuclear disaster was 100% man-made. The natural disasters could not have been avoided but the nuclear one could have been. When a company builds a highly dangerous plant in the wrong place to wrong safety standards, when it all goes wrong, they are responsible for it. I do also think 50+ years of LDP governments are also responsible. The plant is insured but at what level I don't know. The compensation claims will run into trillions so its unlikely TEPCO will be in a position to cover the full amounts, which as usual, means it will be bailed out by the taxpayer.

20 years down the road, when people develop radiation cancers, there will be more claims.

Do these businesses have to fill out the same lengthy forms required by personal compensation claims?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about businesses outside the zone who were affected and had loss of sales because of tepcos negligence, I know many companys who suffered disruption due to tepco.

Pass me over the 156 page manual when you've finished with it please.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

zichi,

Thanks for your reply. But it seems to me the nuclear disaster was a direct result of the natural disaster. If the natural disaster had not happened, the nuclear disaster would not have happened. I think it's difficult to put the burden on TEPCO without these being heard out in a court of law.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oops, double reply due to wonky AJAX code on the site. Please nix the second one!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"In drawing up its guidelines, TEPCO used relevant data after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe and said that factors other than radiation fears have contributed to a decline in tourism revenue by an average 20% since March 11, Jiji reported."

What factors, oh wise ones? And, sorry, but since a number of athletes, singers, performers, and other visitors have said the reason they will not come to Japan (or the reason many left) is fear of radioactive contamination, so while there may be other reasons why SOME people don't visit, TEPCO's power plant is definitely high on the list, and they should therefore compensate the tourism industry in the region as well. Or wait... when they looked at data from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe did they forget a nuclear plant did NOT melt down as a result?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thanks for your reply. But it seems to me the nuclear disaster was a direct result of the natural disaster. If the natural disaster had not happened, the nuclear disaster would not have happened. I think it's difficult to put the burden on TEPCO without these being heard out in a court of law.

Fukushima Daiichii power plant was only built to withstand a 7.6 (Japanese scale) earthquake. I think the strength of the quake at that location was less than that. It should have been built to withstand a much stronger quake, like the worse possible story plus 25% more. The quake did the first major damage. There is a history of quakes and tsunamis. The reactor buildings and turbine halls and places for emergency power should have been built to be water tight, just as it is on a ship.

It would have cost more to build but how much more will it cost now? All the profits from that plant will be eventually wiped out by compensation claims.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Following the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake the Kobe City tourist industry didn't receive compensation. It may have received some government aid following the reconstruction? There is no relevant data.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi,

So do you think the nuclear disaster happened regardless of the natural disaster? Is there no causal connection?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So do you think the nuclear disaster happened regardless of the natural disaster? Is there no causal connection?

No, and I have never stated that, but the plant was struck by an earthquake less than 7.6 mag and a tsunami less than 14 meters high. What would have happened if the epicenter of 3/11 have been in Fukushima with a earthquake of 9.6 and tsunami waves of 49 meters high. Guess there would have been no more Tokyo?

Nuclear power plants are the most dangerous and can become the most deadly of all industrial plants. I am an ex electrical engineer with power generation experience, but none nuclear. I have been chief engineer for very large, complex and highly dangerous chemical plants. I have seen management cutting safety corners for the sake of cost and profit. I have see deaths which could have been avoided. I am qualified in control systems and know that TEPCO could have done better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

j4p4nFTW: majority of people feel that this Nuclear accident could have been avoided. At first I didnt blame TEPCO for what happened. But now that a lot more information is coming to light, such as they knew their safety measures were inadequate etc, I blame TEPCO for not doing everything possible (not asking for the impossible) to prevent such a situation. The fact is TEPCO didnt prepare or do everything they could have. Hence why imo they should be held accountable. But, like you said, a court of law would be necessary to prove that they have to pay compensation.

And if that were to happen, things would get very ugly very quickly here in Fukushima....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@zichi

I am qualified in control systems and know that TEPCO could have done better.

I totally agree with you on that point. Of course they could have done better. Every business, in theory, has room for improvement. But I'm just not sure that TEPCO really should be 100% liable here. It seems that the nuclear disaster was caused by the earthquake/tsunami. That would fall under the category of "Acts of God" for purposes of compensation, unless a court finds TEPCO somehow guilty of negligence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

j4

the nuke industry has been negligent for decades in Japan, the accidents, ignoring repairs etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

They are extremely LIABLE for a HELL OF A LOT, sure we had an act of god, absolutely but after decades of ACTS OF EXTREME & UTTER NEGLIGENCE, well you might start to understand why tepco & the ldp need to pay in SO MANY WAYS

2 ( +2 / -0 )

but in reality, even though my business is way down, I/we will have to pay more taxes in the form of income, residence, consumption tax ETC ETC to pay for these SOBs!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Every business, in theory, has room for improvement.

Nuclear power isn't any business. For decades, TEPCO made billions in pure profit, while telling the people of Fukushima that both nuclear energy and the plant were safe. There were no major updates in safety since the plant was constructed. Not even ensuring the emergency generators were not at sea level and not in a water tight building. The failure of safety is the responsibility of TEPCO, and they know that only too well. Do you think TEPCO would even offer any compensation if it wasn't responsible?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

J4p4nFTW, do you realize that the very same tsunami hit the Onagawa nuclear plant also, just 120km north of Fukushima Dai-ichi? Why wasn't it damaged into meltdown?

Because it didn't belong to criminally negligent Tepco. Tohoku Electric Company followed standards.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Acjama

J4p4nFTW, do you realize that the very same tsunami hit the Onagawa nuclear plant also, just 120km north of Fukushima Dai-ichi? Why wasn't it damaged into meltdown?

I would guess because it was 120kms north! It's hard for us to make a judgement because the intensity of waves from a tsunami vary due to a variety of factors. Perhaps Onagawa is higher up, or further inland. These are things we just don't know.

You say:

Because [Onagawa] didn't belong to criminally negligent Tepco.

But, again, while TEPCO may not have been a perfect company, no court has found them criminally negligent. I think that is a very strong accusation to make. If if were even possibly true than TEPCO would surely be under investigation.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If if were even possibly true than TEPCO would surely be under investigation.*

TEPCO is being investigated by the police and the atomic energy agencies. Those investigations started the same week as 3/11.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks, Zichi, for pointing that out. So it's been over six months already and the investigators haven't found anything showing negligence? No one has been charged with any crime yet, is that correct?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So it's been over six months already and the investigators haven't found anything showing negligence?

Both TEPCO and the problem of the horror story at the power plant are very complex and will take years and years. One day we might know the truth, but from previous actions the company is a dab hand at cover-ups. Recently, the Diet demanded a document on dealing with a nuke disaster, which it sent, mostly blacked, claiming trade secrets. They will have to summit the document unedited, or face further actions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tepco definitely played a part in this ordeal and are indirectly responsible for some of the lost these small business suffered but at the same time, it should not be Tepco directly determining how much and actually reimbursing these companies. Tepco is in the business of Nuclear Energy production and distribution and as such should abide by the rules set forth inrelations to that. They should pay fines for not putting the proper safety procedures and precaution to avoid what would be a reasonably forseeable natural disaster. Tepco is NOT in the business of determining the impact that a natural disaster combined with nuclear contamination would have on small business and facilitating this pay out in accordance to it. It should be the Government / the nuclear agency doing this. If every compensation is funneled through Tepco, than WTF was that agency that got all the government funding established for? for fun?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Following the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, and the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, most nuke power companies run worse case scenarios to discover weakness in structures, plants, systems and operators. The purpose is to improve safety levels as much as possible. It would appear that this didn't happen with TEPCO.

As in all industries of this nature, there's an atmosphere of fear when it comes to engineers speaking to the media or even complaining about a dangerous plant. I recently read an account from a ex nuclear engineer who is retired but worked at Fukushima. In the article, he stated the regret he now feels for not speaking up about some of the failures or dangers at the plant.

TEPCO will have to pay massive fines. But I agree with ushoshi, the whole story of compensation should be handled by TEPCO. In fact, TEPCO should not even be in business any longer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually Tepco is only the tip of the iceberg, Tepco is Tokyo Electric and then how many other electric companies do we have all over Japan?? Too many! How many have nuclear power plants that are sitting on earthquake fault lines right at this moment?? Not too sure, but what I am sure is that the LDP and all of the other corrupt politicians who took $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to get us into this fine mess. IMHO.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

j4p4nFTW, but we do know, don't we? Tepco was warned in 2008 of this exact thing, and was under current orders to improve the situation when the tsunami hit. Orders that it saw fit to ignore.

The tsunami that hit Onagawa nuclear plant was 13.5 meters high, almost three times higher than Tepco's tsunami barriers were designed to hold, so the 120km means nothing in Tepco's case. The Onagawa nuclear plant didn't have it's last line of defence, backup generators, positioned on the shoreline, on lower ground than the tsunami barrier could protect, like Tepco had.

Tohoku electric power company knew, accepted and acted on the risks like a responsible party. Tepco did not care for such things.

Tsunami occurring in Tohoku area is far from new thing and even far from "souteigai". We have history and we have science, but it takes a responsible people to learn from them. The tsunami did not destroy all the nuclear plants that it hit, and I believe the Japanese people are entitled to answers when they ask "Why?".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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