TEPCO compensation hotline overwhelmed by 3,000 complaints per day
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) on Sept 12 began procedures to pay compensation to victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident by sending out application forms, but its call center has been overwhelmed with complaints, pouring in at a rate of over 3,000 per day, company officials said.
The main complaint is that the forms are too difficult to understand, NHK quoted a TEPCO official as saying. The forms come with a massive 156-page manual. Although TEPCO has not released all the details, other frequent inquiries include: “How do I complete the payment request form?” and “I am having a hard time understanding the manual,” NHK reported.
In response, TEPCO issued a statement to the media in which it said that it will endeavor to treat all persons claiming compensation in a fair and just manner, and that it will respond to all inquires very carefully. TEPCO also said it will consider how to improve its documentation.
TEPCO says the initial round of compensation claims are to cover damages from March 11 up to Aug 31. The company also announced that subsequent claims are to be taken quarterly and that the first round of compensation will not cover property damage.
According to the government, about 80,000 people were evacuated from a 20-km radius around Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has been leaking radiation since March 11.
Compensation will cover transportation (5,000 yen per person) and lodging expenses (8,000 yen per night for accommodation) for anyone forced to relocate, as well as mental suffering. Additional amounts will be paid for loss of income on a case-by-case basis, TEPCO said, adding that those amounts will be in line with government guidelines issued earlier in August.