Tokyo: Japanese families who had to flee their homes because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will receive additional compensation of up to USD 3,700 per person, the embattled utility said on Tuesday.
The money, following earlier payments of USD 12,300 per household, is meant to compensate the radiation refugees for their "mental suffering", Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said, according to the Kyodo News agency.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which is still struggling to control the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, estimates that the new round of payouts will total up to JPY 48 billion (USD 592 million), a spokesman said.
The company will give the new payments to 160,000 people who have fled from a 30-kilometre (18.6 mile) radius around the plant, including a 20 km legal no-go zone, and from other radiation hotspots further afield.
The new payments take into account the time families have spent away from their homes so far, and amount to JPY 100,000 (USD 1,234) per person per month. Those who have returned home will be paid for the period they were gone.
In Fukushima prefecture, more than 83,000 people were away from their homes as of Tuesday.