The Environment Ministry has completed briefings for landowners of a site to store radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but attendance at the meetings was less than half the landholders.
Ministry officials said many of the landowners evacuated as the March 2011 nuclear disaster unfurled and have yet to be found or contacted, which is just one of the obstacles the government’s purchasing plan has to overcome.
The site also includes land whose ownership remains unclear due to the death of the previous owners.
Dozens of workers at the ministry’s Fukushima Office for Environmental Restoration have tried to locate all current landholders. The office has managed to only send briefing-session invitations to 1,269 people among owners of 2,365 land plots.
While ministry officials said they will continue trying to locate all of the current property owners, they also said they will consider seeking to have family courts appoint interim administrators for the properties.
Many of those who did attend the briefing sessions also reportedly voiced their dissatisfaction with the government’s plan to buy up the land. A woman in her 60s from Okuma, who took part in a meeting in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, said she felt the amount of compensation offered by the government was “too little,” given the fact that many people from the two towns have been forced to live as refugees.
During a news conference on Oct. 14, Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki said the ministry will create a system to dispatch officials when land owners come forward with questions.
Source: Asahi Shimbun