Tokyo, Aug. 31 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government decided Tuesday to lift this decade all evacuation orders in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, imposed following the March 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The joint meeting of the Reconstruction Promotion Council and the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters formally decided on the basic plan to allow all former residents of areas under evacuation orders to return if they wish in the 2020s.
Such orders are in place near the Fukushima No. 1 plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501>, which suffered triple meltdowns following a major earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
“On the basis of this plan, we’ll carry out decontamination work while holding adequate discussions with the local communities, so that we can lift evacuation orders to allow all residents to return if they wish to do so,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at the meeting.
Of the areas still designated as difficult-to-return zones, districts that are expected to see evacuation orders lifted in 2022 or 2023 make up only around 8 pct of the total land area. Some 20,000 people are registered as residents of the remaining areas in the difficult-to-return zones.
It is the first time that the government has set a detailed plan for lifting the evacuation orders.
Under the basic plan, the central and local governments will conduct decontamination work and build necessary infrastructure after surveying residents on whether they intend to return.
Costs related to decontamination will be fully shouldered by the state.