Tepco has faced countless compensation claims from those living near the wrecked plant

Fukushima compensation increased to 7.07 trillion yen

The Japanese government has approved an increase in compensation payments for the Fukushima nuclear disaster to 7.07 trillion yen.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, will receive 950 billion yen more in public funds on top of the 6.125 trillion agreed earlier, the utility and the government said.

Tens of thousands of evacuees remain in temporary housing more than four years after the disaster and
Tepco requested the funds in the face of a stream of legal cases seeking compensation over the disaster.

The firm, with the support of the government, is undertaking an unprecedented clean-up to lower radiation levels in towns closest to the site of the 2011 disaster, though some areas will likely remain off limits for decades.

In an effort to cap compensation payouts and speed up reconstruction, the government plans to revoke evacuation orders for most people forced from their homes by the disaster within two years.

However, Tepco has struggled to bring the situation inside the plant under control and it is estimated that removing the melted fuel from the wrecked reactors and cleaning up the site will cost tens of billions of dollars and take decades to complete.

The gradual shutdown of all the country's nuclear reactors for safety checks and upgrades has also meant that electricity bills for Japanese households have risen 25 per cent since the catastrophe as the country resorted to importing more fossils fuels.

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