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Friday, 4 September 2015

Japan to lift evacuation order for Fukushima town of Naraha

FUKUSHIMA – The government is set to lift at midnight Friday its evacuation order for the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha, most of which is located within 20 kilometers of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Naraha will be the first of the seven Fukushima municipalities where the entire populations were instructed to evacuate to have the order removed.

It will be the third such order to be lifted for a municipality in the former no-go zone set within 20 kilometers of the northeastern Japan power station, which suffered a reactor meltdown accident after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Naraha had a registered population of 7,368 in 2,694 households as of Tuesday. According to a survey by the government and others, some 46 percent of the residents hope to return home.

Only a portion of them are likely to go back immediately, however, including 780 people at some 350 households who are doing long-stays at their homes in the town to prepare for permanent returns.

The central and town governments will reopen a medical clinic in the town in October. A new prefectural clinic will be built as early as February.

To handle sudden illnesses among elderly people wishing to return home, medical services will be reinforced through steps such as the distribution of emergency buzzers to those who need them.

In a bid to meet requests for shopping services, a supermarket in the town launched free delivery services in July. A publicly built, privately run shopping center with a supermarket and do-it-yourself store will be established in fiscal 2016.

Dosimeters will be handed out to help people check radiation levels, while 24-hour monitoring will be conducted at a water filtration plant. Tap water will be tested at households hoping to check for radioactive materials.

The government lifted its evacuation order for the Miyakoji district in the city of Tamura in April 2014 and the eastern part of the village of Kawauchi in October 2014.

In August 2012, Naraha was redesignated as an area being prepared for the removal of the evacuation order and where people are allowed to enter during the daytime.

With decontamination work largely completed, evacuees have been allowed since April 2015 to return home for long-term stays to prepare for permanent returns.

Souce: Japan Times

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