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Japan nuclear victims to be compensated by Tepco

Fukushima power plant operator to pay the affected families, says Japanese government.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of the nuclear power plant damaged earlier this year, has been ordered by the Japanese government to pay compensation to the victims.

The now-disabled Fukushima plant suffered damage from the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsnuami which struck Japan on 11 March 2011. Some 48,000 families who lived within 30km (18 miles) of the plant were believed to have been affected. Many have been forced to remain in far away evacuation centres since the disaster and over 150,000 people are still homeless.

Many have criticised Tepco and the government for taking too long to offer compensation. They will now do so provisionally from 28 April.

JP Morgan estimate Tepco may face pay-outs amounting to 2 trillion yen (£15bn). The company continues to try and stabilise the plant following the accident.

Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said: "Tepco is to make an urgent and speedy payment in order to compensate for the losses incurred by evacuation and orders to stay indoors. The basic idea is that one household will receive 1 million yen (£7,331). We think that such an amount is necessary as a provisional payment."

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.