The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday announced that the Tao community of Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) would receive NT$2.55 billion (US$83.6 million) in compensation after a government investigation found that they were unaware of plans to create the Lanyu nuclear waste disposal facility.
Ministry officials made the announcement at a news conference in Taitung attended by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
The investigation “discovered the truth” and the compensation fulfills part of the government’s Aboriginal transitional justice project, Tsai said.
Tsai in 2016 instructed Minister Without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億) to launch the investigation after receiving a complaint from Lanyu residents.
The probe found that the Tao community was not notified that the government was planning to establish the facility, the ministry said.
The compensation is to be disbursed under the Regulations on Development and Management of the Lands Reserved for Indigenous People (原住民保留地開發管理辦法), it said.
The funds would not be provided all at once, but rather in annual installments of NT$25 million, it added.
Lanyu Township Mayor Chiaman Chialamu said that residents were happy to hear the decision.
“Out of all the presidents who have visited Lanyu, only President Tsai listened,” Chiaman said.
However, he said that while the compensation is welcome, the nuclear waste must be removed from the island.
The township would select a board to oversee a foundation governing the funds, Chiaman said, adding that their use would require majority approval by residents.
Separately yesterday, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said that “today’s compensation has historic meaning for both the Executive Yuan and Lanyu.”
It is the first step toward finding historical truth and compensating Lanyu residents, she said.
The Executive Yuan yesterday exhibited declassified documents showing that in the 1970s, then-premiers Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Sun Yun-hsuan (孫運璿) approved plans to build the facility and store nuclear waste on Lanyu without residents’ consent.
Additional reporting by Huang Pei-chun
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