Fukushima to turn to third-party mediator to resolve claims dispute with Tepco — The Asahi Shimbun

” FUKUSHIMA–The Fukushima prefectural government, exasperated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s foot-dragging, plans to turn to a third-party organ for the first time to resolve a dispute over damages arising from the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Prefectural authorities will be seeking an estimated 1 billion yen ($9 million) in compensation for expenses resulting from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

As the two sides remain far apart on key issues, prefectural officials decided to ask the central government’s nuclear damage claim dispute resolution center to serve as mediator.

The prefectural government is hoping that this strategy will convince TEPCO to cover budgetary outlays for personnel expenses for the new departments and sections that had to be established to deal with the nuclear accident.

The submittal of the mediation request could be made in April once the Fukushima prefectural assembly gives its approval.

Compensation is also being sought for a public relations campaign that was implemented to lure tourists who stayed away from the prefecture in the aftermath of the nuclear accident.

Discussions with TEPCO on such expenditures proved fruitless.

“We would like to obtain the judgment of a third party for those parts that we are not convinced about,” a prefectural official said.

Fukushima authorities will propose that the mediator be used in the prefectural assembly session to be convened in February.

Since July 2012, the Fukushima prefectural government has submitted three separate compensation requests to TEPCO totaling 11.01 billion yen. TEPCO has so far paid about 3.92 billion yen for projects to assist small businesses to resume operations as well as to relocate prefectural senior high schools.

Referring to the proposed mediation, a TEPCO official said, “We will respond in a sincere manner based on the established procedures.” ”

by Noboru Okada



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