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Fukushima to provide housing subsidy to voluntary nuclear evacuees in fiscal 2016

FUKUSHIMA -- Households that have voluntarily evacuated areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis will be in line for up to 30,000 yen in monthly housing aid from the prefecture once its free housing program winds up at the end of fiscal 2016, officials said.

    The Fukushima Prefectural Government currently provides housing with monthly rent of up to 90,000 yen to voluntary evacuee families with at least five members, and up to 60,000 yen to those with up to four members.

    After the local body discontinues the program at the end of fiscal 2016, it will cover half a household's monthly rent up to 30,000 yen in the first year, and one-third up to 20,000 yen in the second year.

    The amounts were determined based on the assumption that the families are paying 60,000 yen in rent per month, as the average rent for apartments in the prefecture is about 56,000 yen.

    Additionally, the prefectural government will provide 100,000 yen in assistance to these households to help them cover key money when the rental contract is switched from the prefectural government to individual residents.

    Among households that have evacuated within the prefecture, only those with children or expecting mothers will be eligible for the housing subsidies. The requirements will be eased for mothers who have evacuated with their children while leaving their husbands back at home.

    Moreover, the prefectural government will also implement measures to make it easier for voluntary evacuees who are not covered by such subsidies to rent less expensive public housing.

    The prefectural government estimates that there were some 7,000 households that were voluntarily taking shelter elsewhere in the prefecture or outside Fukushima as of the end of October, totaling about 18,000 people. Of them, more than 2,000 will be eligible for the subsidy system. The prefectural authorities expect the total bill to reach about 2 billion yen over the two-year period.

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