Victims of the nuclear radiation crisis in Japan have expressed a sense of fatigue over the uncertainty of when normality might be restored. However, the prospect of a “provisional compensation” for their ordeal has been uniformly welcomed.

Following the Japanese government's intervention, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) on Friday announced a temporary payment would be made towards a final settlement of damages. Tepco is responsible for managing the radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station which was knocked out by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. With the government ordering the evacuation of thousands of residents from areas around the plant, those affected are still in shelters.

In televised comments on Tepco's offer of “provisional compensation”, a visibly weary evacuee said: “I need money. But what I really want [to know] is … if and when we can return home and if the crisis can be brought under control.”

Another victim voiced mixed feelings in a different way. In his view, the evacuees “deserve” the provisional payment but it would be “unacceptable” if they were to end up receiving only “a temporary payout”.

Amid efforts to mitigate the nuclear crisis and begin the restoration of normality in quake-and-tsunami-hit areas, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, speaking in Diet (Parliament) in Tokyo, expressed “deepest appreciation to the international community” which offered help. In return, “we intend to continue making [Japan's] international contributions” as before, he pledged, even as the IAEA's findings on the radiation crisis were awaited.

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