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Midnight countdown held as evacuation order on Fukushima town lifted after 11 yrs

One of the organizers of the “okaeri project” event waves his hand after opening a door set up in front of JR Futaba Station in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 30, 2022.

August 30, 2022

FUTABA, Fukushima — People shouted, “Welcome back!” at the stroke of 12:00 a.m. on Aug. 30 to celebrate the lifting of evacuation orders here, 11-plus years after townspeople were barred from returning following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdowns.

The town of Futaba was one area designated as “difficult to return” due to fallout from the plant, which the town cohosts with the neighboring municipality of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. All Futaba residents were forced to evacuate to other parts of Japan after the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the power station run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

After 11 years and five months, the town has been deemed habitable once more, with the establishment of a “Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Base.” And to celebrate, resident volunteers organized the “okaeri (welcome back) project” event in the town center in front of Futaba Station, on the JR Joban Line. A countdown was held, and when the clock struck 12, organizers opened a pink wooden “door of hope” as the people there yelled, “Welcome back!”

About 2,000 candles were lit at the venue on the night of Aug. 29, creating a magical atmosphere. Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa told the crowd, “I will dedicate myself to reconstruction work, so that it (Futaba) will become a town where people will be happy to come back to.”

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220830/p2a/00m/0na/004000c

September 4, 2022 - Posted by | Fuk 2022 | ,

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