The central government plans to set up a new subsidy system to help farmers in 12 municipalities near the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant restart their operations, according to sources.
The program represents part of the government’s efforts to promote the reconstruction of areas damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region and the subsequent meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear station.
The government will earmark around ¥7 billion for the program under a planned supplementary budget for its special account related to the 2011 disaster, the sources said Monday.
The program will help farmers buy equipment and livestock.
A support system is already available in which the 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture buy facilities and equipment such as greenhouses and tractors and lend them for free to farmers aiming to get back on their feet.
But the system is inconvenient for individuals who want to resume farming operations, because it is mainly designed for group farming and other big operations. Also, approval from local assemblies is necessary to lend out the facilities and gear.
Under the new program, the Fukushima Prefectural Government will cover 75 percent of farmers’ purchase costs for farming equipment and livestock, the sources said. The upper limit on support per farmer will likely be ¥10 million, they said.
The central government will shoulder all costs incurred by prefectural government, the sources said.
The 12 municipalities are Tamura, Minamisoma, Kawamata, Hirono, Naraha, Tomioka, Okuma, Futaba, Namie, Kawauchi, Katsurao and Iitate.