TEPCO to reinforce system to compensate businesses for reputational damage

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will reinforce a system to compensate business operators for possible reputational damage after the utility began releasing treated and diluted water from its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

TEPCO disclosed last year that it will compensate those whose sales have decreased or are suffering declines in the prices of products, such as marine and agricultural food products.

The measure will also cover those whose products are subject to an import ban by a foreign country.

The company says such payments will be made regardless of the period of time, area and type of business.

On Monday, TEPCO announced that it will strengthen its system in place to respond to consultations on issues, including compensation and the expansion of sales. This comes as China suspended all imports of seafood from Japan.

The utility says it will increase the number of support desks in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture.

It will also consider setting up such desks in the Hokkaido, Kansai and Kyushu regions.

The number of staff engaging in consultation work will be increased from the initially planned 400 to some 1,000.

The company plans to start receiving applications for compensation on October 2, and will start sending necessary documents on November 20.

TEPCO Managing Executive Officer Yoshida Takahiko says the company will handle problems faced by business operators carefully, and pay compensation promptly and appropriately if reputational damage has been confirmed.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a triple meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Water used to cool molten fuel at the plant has been mixing with rain and groundwater.

The accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive substances, but still contains tritium.

Before releasing the treated water into the sea, the Tokyo Electric Power Company dilutes it to reduce tritium levels to about one-seventh of the World Health Organization's guidelines for drinking water.

Since the start of the treated water discharge, tritium concentrations in seawater samples have been below the detectable level in multiple checks conducted by the TEPCO, the Environment Ministry and Fukushima Prefecture.