Tsunami-hit homeowners to receive 80% of former land values

The coastal part of Shinchi Town before and after the March 11 tsunami

The town of Shinchi in Fukushima Prefecture will soon begin the process of buying up land in coastal areas from residents who have been displaced from the March 11 tsunami. This is the first town to announce official plans and set purchase values.

The land will be purchased at 80% of the government assessed land values (koji-chika) that were valued prior to the disaster.

There are five towns and cities along the tsunami-hit coastline, incuding Minamisoma, Soma, Iwaki, Hirano and Shinchi, that plan to relocate residents to higher ground. In Shinchi, 500 homes were fully or partially destroyed by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Shinchi has designated four areas as disaster risk zones. There are 390 households within these areas and the town will pay up to 14,000 Yen (180 USD) per square meter for the land.

A local resident from the affected area expressed relief at the town’s relatively high offer as he heard that land in tsunami risk areas has plummeted in value. A 78 year old resident who lives alone said that she is grateful for the town’s offer but feels that moving would be too difficult.

Source: NHK, January 21, 2012.