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Some temporary houses for Fukushima evacuees have partial base decay, termite damage

25 November 2016

A Fukushima prefectural government survey has found signs of decomposition and termite damage on wooden foundation piles at a total of 293 makeshift units in 135 residential buildings built for evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture since the 2011 earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The finding, covering evacuee homes at eight residential complexes in the prefecture, was part of the results of the survey published on Nov. 24. The annual survey for fiscal 2016 was taken simultaneously for all 15,326 units in 3,458 buildings at 170 complexes except for those due to be demolished.

The survey was conducted from mid-June to mid-November. The foundation pile decomposition and termite damage, which could cause houses to tilt, were confirmed at five residential complexes in Iwaki city, two in Fukushima city and one in Nihonmatsu city.

Termite damage was found at six units in six buildings, foundation pile decomposition at 154 units in 85 buildings and both types of damage at 133 units in 44 buildings. The prefecture is set to reinforce piles with steel members, spray insecticide on foundation portions and take other measures.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

24 November 2016

Regional commerce hub reopens in wholly evacuated Fukushima town of Tomioka

A home improvement center serving as a commercial hub of the southern Futaba region in Fukushima Prefecture resumed operations in the wholly evacuated town of Tomioka on Nov. 23 after a hiatus of five years and eight months since the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Daiyu Eight Co. based in Fukushima city opened the hardware shop, dubbed “Daiyu Eight Sakura Mall Tomioka Store,” inside a commercial complex.

The company set up the shop ahead of other business establishments within the complex to help spur post-disaster reconstruction in the region, located in the prefecture’s eastern part on the Pacific coast. The shop is expected to support the infrastructure for living in the town, where residents have begun temporary stays at their homes to prepare for the lifting of the evacuation order targeted for next spring, and play the role of encouraging evacuated residents elsewhere in the region to return home permanently.

The shop is the first do-it-yourself store opened in the Futaba region, which encompasses eight municipalities, since the nuclear disaster. Its floor space is about 7,700 square meters. On Nov. 25, three more shops -- serving noodles, offering set meals and selling prepared dishes -- opened while Toho Bank put an automated teller machine corner into operation.

York-Benimmaru Co., a supermarket chain based in Koriyama city in the prefecture, and Tsuruha Co., a drugstore chain based in Sapporo, northern Japan, are scheduled to open outlets in the complex next spring, bringing the facility up to full capacity.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

22 November 2016

70% of Fukushima businesses outside evacuation areas see profits below pre-disaster levels

A recent survey by the business community in Fukushima Prefecture has found that 69.6% of commerce and industry business operators outside the prefecture’s evacuation areas have seen their operating profits hovering below their levels before the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi plant. According to the results of a questionnaire by the Fukushima Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry, made available on Nov. 21, 59.0% of respondents have not demanded compensation payments from the utility.

The federation believes the survey results confirm the far-reaching effects of harmful rumors stemming from the disaster. It is poised to demand that TEPCO ensures that all business operators outside the disaster-induced evacuation areas are aware that they qualify for compensation.

Survey taken by commerce/industry federation

More than five years since the nuclear accident, businesses outside the evacuation areas are supposed to receive two years' worth of compensation payments in a lump sum through next July for their operating losses, but individually negotiate with TEPCO for compensation thereafter.

Against that background, the federation surveyed management conditions of member businesses by sending a questionnaire to 19,142 members of 77 chambers of commerce and industry outside the areas. The survey was undertaken from May to June this year with the help of Fukushima University, Iwaki Meisei University and other parties. Replies were received from 4,492 businesses.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

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