TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Unit 2 in the center, Unit 3 on the left, and Unit 1 on the right, from the head office helicopter on February 9.

March 6, 2022
In eight towns and villages in Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture, where evacuation orders were issued after the March 2011 accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and nearly all residents evacuated in and out of the prefecture, 1,514 people were certified as earthquake-related deaths, and at least 1,025 were found to have moved to new evacuation sites three or more times, according to a new report. Of the 1,514, 136 died after 2004, indicating that the prolonged evacuation has pushed the victims to the edge.

 The Mainichi Shimbun requested local governments in Fukushima Prefecture to disclose documents submitted by the bereaved families over the certification of earthquake-related deaths. The documents include a written history leading up to the deaths, and we analyzed their contents. The number of people certified as earthquake-related deaths in the prefecture as a whole was 2,331, about 1.5 times the number of direct deaths (1,605).

A survey of 1,514 people certified as earthquake-related deaths in eight towns and villages in Futaba County (six towns: Namie, Futaba, Okuma, Tomioka, Naraha, and Hirono; two villages: Katsurao and Kawauchi) showed that at least 1,025 people had moved their evacuation sites three or more times before their death. Of these, 248 had moved three times, 267 four times, 211 five times, and 299 six or more times.

 A total of 2,034 people, 1,514 in eight towns and villages in Futaba County and 520 in Minamisoma City, which was ordered to evacuate within a 20-kilometer radius of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, were identified as having died as earthquake-related deaths, and 70% of them were in their 80s or older. Those with a history of illness accounted for 80% of the deaths, with pneumonia and heart disease being the most common causes of death. A number of people suffered from depression or worsening dementia as a result of the long-term evacuation.

According to the Reconstruction Agency, more than 90% of those who were certified as earthquake-related deaths in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake died within one year of the disaster. In contrast, in the eight towns and villages in Futaba County and Minamisoma City, almost half of all deaths from related causes occurred after one year had passed.

 Applications for earthquake-related deaths from bereaved families are still being filed. However, the passage of time has made it difficult to determine the causal relationship between the deaths, and the certification rate is declining. In Tomioka Town, where 454 people, the largest number in Futaba County, were certified, the rate dropped from 94% in FY12 (83 certified out of 88 applications) to 38% from FY19 to FY21 (17 certified out of 45 total). Rokka Teramachi, Shuji Ozaki
Earthquake-related deaths

 Deaths are not directly caused by collapsed buildings or tsunamis resulting from earthquakes, but by worsening physical condition due to evacuation after the disaster. Based on the disaster condolence payment system, a review board consisting of doctors and lawyers receives applications from bereaved families, examines them, and certifies them by the local government. If certified, the bereaved family will receive up to 5 million yen. According to the Reconstruction Agency, as of the end of September 2021, 3,784 people in 10 prefectures had been certified for the Great East Japan Earthquake.
https://mainichi.jp/articles/20220306/k00/00m/040/122000c?fbclid=IwAR0BSmgj0bjLlJJH9MgGN_5wTJz4KpSeTaa4x5acUPqnRrB1WMIZXZgMQ7U