What a country. Wonder of the Orient.
Just remember that this country (Japan) is still the third largest economy in the world. But after more than 17 months since the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident, hardly anyone cares that these people are still living in school classrooms. It's worse than not caring, because now they will charge for the bento (meal in a box), which will cost these elderly residents 30,000 to 40,000 yen per person per month (US$381 to 508 per person per month).
Where do they have such money? No one cares. The evacuees from the same town, Futaba-machi, who have moved to temporary housing and other rental properties, have complained that they are not getting free meals, so everyone gotta pay, to be fair.
From Yomiuri Shinbun (8/24/2012):
Due to conflict with the Futaba-machi residents living on their own, evacuees at the Futaba-machi shelter [in Saitama] will have to pay for their bento (meal in a box)
Starting September, the evacuees staying in the school building of former Kisai High School in Kazo City in Saitama Prefecture will have to pay for the bento meals that they receive.
The reason why the town has decided to charge for bento was the strong demand for equality from the town residents who have already left the school building and live on their own. However, the residents who still remain in the school building are resentful of the new charge. The conflict between the residents could be the result of the extended stay in the shelter for nearly one and a half year, with inadequate support for self-reliance and recovery.
The Kisai High School shelter is the last remaining public shelter opened after the March 11, 2011 disaster. About 210 residents live there, and bento meals are provided free of charge under the Disaster Relief Act.
[About these free meals,] there has been a silent resentment against this "special treatment" from the town's residents who have moved to temporary housing and rental houses and live on their own [and who have to pay for their own food].
Starting September 1, a bento distributor in Kazu City will sell bento meals for 1,100 to 1,250 yen [US$14 to 16] per three meals per day. It will cost 30,000 to 40,000 yen [US$381 to 508] per person per month.
On the night of August 21, about 70 evacuees at the school gathered together talked. According to people who participated, most were against paying for the meals. There was an elderly man who lamented, "So, if I cannot pay for the bento, that means they are telling me to just die." In fact, most of the evacuees who remain in the shelter are over 65 years old, and some need medical assistance.
On the other hand, there are residents at the shelter who say "We cannot go on living like this." According to the Ministry of Health and Labor, the school remains a public shelter even after the town starts to charge for bento meals. Under the Disaster Relief Act, emergency shelters are to be opened for 7 days. It will be 1 year and 5 months since the shelter was opened at the school, well beyond the initial expectation.
The Ministry official says, "We don't think it's right to have these people in the shelter for such a long time. We would like to consult with Fukushima Prefecture so that the residents can move to houses and facilities where they can live comfortably."
This is a country where they charge the workers in Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant for their meals. So charging the old residents who have nowhere else to go for their meager bento boxes to achieve fairness is just what you expect.