From Yomiuri Shimbum online, Feb. 5, 2012
“A total of 573 deaths have been certified as “disaster-related” by 13 municipalities affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.
This number could rise because certification for 29 people remains pending while further checks are conducted. […]
A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster. If a municipality certifies the cause of death is directly associated to a disaster, a condolence grant is paid to the victim’s family. If the person was a breadwinner, 5 million yen is paid. […]
“During our examination of the applications, we gave emphasis to the conditions at evacuation sites and how they spent their days before they died,” a city government official said. “However, the screening process was difficult in cases when people had stayed in evacuation facilities for an extended time and when there was little evidence of where they had been taking shelter.”