TOKYO, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan's ruling coalition received confirmation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday regarding a proposal submitted by the bloc to inject more public funds to speed up the sluggish decontamination process around the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan's northeast to allow those displaced to return home at an earlier date.
The proposal accepted by Japan's leader also lays out a shift from previous commitments made by the former administration that stipulated the 30 billion U.S. dollar budget earmarked for the clean-up of the contaminated residential areas around the plant, will not meet the goals to reduce levels of radioactivity previously promised.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior New Komeito Party ally, also outlined in the proposal that the government needs to redouble its efforts to financially support those still displaced following the triple meltdowns that happened at the Fukushima plant, following a massive earthquake-triggered tsunami wiping out key cooling functions at the facility, through the use of taxpayers money.
"The government will move forward and work in unison with the ruling bloc," Abe said after receiving the proposal, adding that efforts towards decommissioning the stricken facility and managing the escalating problem of storing contaminated water, would also be stepped up.
Abe and his administration have come under fire from Fukushima prefectural officials, residents, opposition parties and the international community, for not doing enough to expedite the improvement of the ongoing Fukushima crisis, which continues to rumble on with toxic leaks, manpower shortages and contaminated water storage limitations still wreaking havoc at the plant -- damaging the local environment and ensuring thousands of evacuees remain displaced.
The prime minister on Monday however said his administration will work towards enabling the evacuees to return home at the " earliest possible date," following mounting pressure from the ruling coalition to accelerate moves to bring the crisis under control in a capacity that presides over the plant's embattled owner and operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and not alongside or at a distance from it.
The nuclear crisis in Fukushima has led to 140,000 people still living in makeshift, temporary accommodation that was only constructed to house people for an absolute maximum of three years and of those displaced, concerns are rife among social workers and charity agencies that due to losses of livelihood and inadequate living facilities, instances of mental and physical illnesses have risen, with death's attributed to post-nuclear crisis issues reaching almost 1,540 people, with many evacuees stating they feel abandoned by a government who up until now has done the bare minimum to help TEPCO deal with the crisis.
The ruling bloc has also called for the government to take concrete measures to tackle the crisis, in the interests of those displaced, including building facilities to store a growing amount of highly toxic waste and soil, as well as giving a definitive timeline as to when exactly displaced residents can return to their homes.
In addition, Abe is being pushed to ensure that TEPCO has a clearer operational mandate and organizational structure and a less haphazard approach to a myriad of problems it faces, in and around the nuclear site, and not be left to solely shoulder the financial burden of compensating the disaster victims and eventually decommissioning its facilities.
The ruling bloc insisted that prior to the end of this year a clear guide be given to residents reluctant or unwilling to return home regarding levels of compensation, to ease their planning worries as they mull purchasing or renting alternative accommodation.
The coalition parties have also urged the government to acquire more accurate radiation readings and rely more on air dose rates, rather than dosimeters carried by residents.
The government's overall goal is to reduce the annual additional radiation exposure for Fukushima residents to 1 millisievert or less through its ongoing decontamination efforts.
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