Public, private sectors launch team to aid businesses in evacuated areas

A team was launched on Aug. 24 jointly by the central government and the private sector to support firms in 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture that remain evacuated as a result of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The team will advise companies on business resumption and other issues, according to the government. The team was established at a meeting of a public/private-sector body aimed at assisting reconstruction in the Soma-Futaba region held at the Fukushima prefectural government offices. The team will initially have about 100 members dispatched from the central and prefectural governments as well as companies in the private sector. It will set up offices in the cities of Fukushima, Koriyama and Iwaki. The team members will visit local businesses and farmers individually to identify problems they face and then discuss support measures. Of about 8,000 businesses that existed in the 12 municipalities before the disaster, more than 80% have not yet been able to resume their operations. The government wants to focus on supporting such businesses before evacuation orders are lifted by March 2017. (Translated by Kyodo News)