Photo/IllutrationTohoku Electric Power Co.’s Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, which has been idled since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disater (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Tohoku Electric Power Co. plans to give an estimated 400 million yen ($3.58 million) to a village that hosts one of its nuclear power plants, but denies it is compensation for losses stemming from the facility's suspension since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The utility said March 19 it will make a donation to Higashidori, Aomori Prefecture, where its Higashidori nuclear power plant is located, through a corporate version of the “furusato nozei” (hometown tax payment) system.

The company did not disclose the amount, but only said it wants to donate “about half” the maximum amount that the village is allowed to receive under this system. The ceiling for the village is about 800 million yen.

The village government called for Tohoku Electric's response because the volume of work related to the nuclear plant, such as maintenance, declined due to the suspension and a number of accommodations relying on plant workers have closed.

Satoshi Shimoyashiki, vice manager of Tohoku Electric’s Aomori branch, rejected the notion that the donation was meant as compensation for such economic losses and emphasized that it is being made as "part of corporate social responsibility (CSR)."

“We decided to provide this form of cooperation because co-prosperity with local communities has been part of our management philosophy since the founding of our company,” Shimoyashiki told reporters at the Aomori prefectural government building.

“We believe that Tohoku Electric decided to support the village's regional revitalization projects,” said Higashidori Mayor Yasuo Echizen.

According to Echizen, the village also asked Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings to provide support because construction of its Higashidori nuclear power plant was suspended due to the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The furusato nozei system allows individuals to divert part of their local tax payment to a local government of their choice. In return, many of those governments send local specialties to donors.

Its corporate version allows companies to reduce their corporate and other tax payments if they donate to projects of local governments.