Whether you actually want to use
=encoding is another matter, since the plain
pod2man doesn’t support it until perl 5.10. The POD spec allows a UTF-8 BOM marker at the start of the file, and Emacs 22 recognises that on its own, so that might be the way to go. But
perl-pod-coding can help with files like
Nihongo.pod from the Jcode package which is in EUC-JP.