Some residents near the nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai City in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, are questioning the feasibility of evacuation plans drawn up by local communities.
9 towns and cities within 30 kilometers of the plant have already drawn up evacuation plans for their residents. But some of the roads designated as evacuation routes have problems.
In Takae Town, a prefectural highway turns into a single-lane road with narrow sections where there are no sidewalks. Other sections are close to the mouth of a river and the sea and could be flooded in the event of tsunami.
An NHK survey shows that 6 of the 9 municipalities have acknowledged problems including traffic jams that might occur during evacuations.
The prefectural government of Kagoshima has started repair work such as widening roads and reinforcing embankments at 11 sections of such routes. However, the work is expected to take 7 to 8 years to complete.
Some municipal offices are improving forestry roads that can be used for evacuation. Officials say if a disaster causes traffic congestion, authorities may redirect people and vehicles to use forestry roads for evacuation.
Yuichi Kojima, a senior Kagoshima prefectural official, says the prefecture is giving top priority to improving evacuation routes and will also work with local municipalities to secure smooth evacuations.
Protesters rally at Sendai nuclear power plantProtesters are rallying outside the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan in a last-ditch effort to stop the restart of a nuclear reactor at the plant. The restart will be the first under new safety rules established after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
About 200 activists from both in and out of the prefecture gathered in front of the plant early on Tuesday morning.
Using loudspeakers, they shouted “Don't forget the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi!" and “Do not restart the Sendai plant!"
Police officers and the plant's guards are deployed around the protesters.
A 22-year-old student taking part in the rally said the plant's restart is not an issue limited to Kagoshima, but also affects other areas.
He said he does not want the plant to be restarted under the current conditions. He said he is worried that the local emergency evacuation plan is inadequate, especially for old people.