TEPCO blasted over 60-page compensation application forms

09/14/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) — Nuclear disaster victims are blasting Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) over Japanese cyberspace for producing compensation application forms they say are too complicated and onerous to complete.

TEPCO’s application forms sent out this week run to 60 pages and only cover the period from March 11, the day an earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis at the utility’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, through the end of August.

To explain the complicated application process is a 156-page manual, which includes agreements, application forms and the lists of required documents to be eligible to receive compensation for damages incurred during the nuclear crisis.

“I’ve received TEPCO’s application forms, and it’s one application book per person,” one woman tweeted. “The instruction manual is too thick. Is this some kind of harassment? Filling this out is a pain.”

TEPCO has set up a 200-person team to deal with completing the applications and has promised to hold explanation meetings in disaster areas.

TEPCO sent the application forms to 60,000 households on Sept. 12. Recipients had already received provisional compensation payments from the utility company. Applications to get those payments had been lauded for their simplicity.

However, for the full compensation, applicants are required to complete the 60-page application form and attach all applicable documentary evidence for their claims. For instance, claims for labor damages require applicants to choose their job type from among one of four categories, requiring consultation with the instruction manual to determine which category they fall under, and then calculate how much they may be eligible to receive.

Application forms apply to individuals, thus households may need to file several of the forms to claim all eligible compensation. Damages incurred after the end of August require new files to be made for each individual, with the 60-page booklet needing to be filled in again.

TEPCO said payments to approve applications will take a minimum of one month. However, if the application form is incomplete, applicants will have to fill out the form all over again.

Those unwilling to agree to TEPCO’s compensation notification must make a claim for mediation from the national government’s Nuclear Power Compensation Claim Solution Center, requiring even greater time and effort.

Critics accuse TEPCO of making the compensation claim process deliberately difficult to ensure that applicant numbers remain as low as possible.

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