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Evacuation advisory to be lifted for most of Iitate, Fukushima, next March 31

iitate_vs_fukushima_evacuation_zones_large.png

 

 

FUKUSHIMA – The central government has informed the municipal assembly of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, that it plans to lift the evacuation advisory for most of the village next March 31.

Preparation work for the displaced residents to return to their homes is scheduled to start July 1, as requested by the municipal government in April.

The advisory will be left in place for the Nagadoro district because radiation levels there remain too high to allow people to return.

The government issued the evacuation advisory for the entire village after it was hit by fallout from the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant roughly 40 km away.

In June last year, decontamination work was completed in the village’s residential areas, reducing the average radiation level in the air to 0.8 microsievert per hour.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/07/national/state-lift-evacuation-advisory-fukushima-village-iitate-next-march-31/

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Government Decides to Lift Evacuation Orders for Three Municipalities

3 villes

Government Decides to Lift Evacuation Orders for Three Municipalities

On May 31, the Japanese government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters decided to lift three evacuation orders in Fukushima Prefecture, as follows: Katsurao Village on June 12, Kawauchi Village on June 14, and Minamisoma City on July 12.

The evacuation order for Kawauchi Village had been partially lifted on October 1, 2014, and the recent decision completes the process there.

In Minamisoma City, the section of the JR Joban Line between Haranomachi Station and Odaka Station, which is still unusable because of the evacuation order, is expected to be reopened after the lifting of the order for the town on July 12.

The basic policy for Fukushima’s reconstruction, approved at a Cabinet meeting in March, said that the government would speed up the establishment of an environment so as to lift all evacuation orders by March 2017 at the latest.

However, that still excludes those areas designated as places “where residents will not be able to return home for a long time.”

http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/government-decides-to-lift-evacuation-orders-for-three-municipalities/

Abe visits villages in Fukushima

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government will lead efforts to revive communities in Fukushima, including areas where radiation levels remain prohibitively high.

Abe on Friday inspected the villages of Kawauchi and Katsurao near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Evacuation orders for parts of the 2 villages are due to be lifted in mid-June.

In Katsurao, former residents asked the prime minister to support people who plan to return and resume farming and other businesses.

Abe told them that the desire to revive the hometown is the driving force for reconstruction. He promised to do his best to restore community ties and vitality.

Abe told reporters the government plans to present ideas by the summer for restoring heavily-contaminated areas declared unfit for return.

He said it will be a long process, but that his government is determined to see it through.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160603_39/

feb 19, 2016

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan lifts evacuation order for city near nuclear plant

Minamisoma

 Minamisoma is one of the most contaminated places in Fukushima. Decontamination is never permanent. Some places already have been decontaminated up to 5 times already, but the contamination always coming back gradually to the pre-decontamination levels thanks to the ruisseling rain and the wind bringing it from the forested hills where it has accumulated. Fukushima prefecture is 80% forested hills/mountains, all heavily contaminated.

The Japanese Government insists on perpetuating the decontamination lie, pushing the people to return to live in the previously evacuated areas, hammering in the media that low-radiation exposure is not harmful to health. Economic priorities prevailing above people lives.

Quoting Bo Jacobs: “This is entirely about removing legally obligated compensation. When you are forced to evacuate, the government is liable for the costs. When the government says that the radiation in your community is acceptable, then there is no more legal obligation to compensate you for living someplace that is safe. “

 

 

Tokyo: The Japanese government on Friday lifted an evacuation order for the entire city of Minamisoma, located near the disabled nuclear plant in Fukushima.

The decision, which is awaiting approval from the local council, will allow the return of 12,000 people to the municipalities included in the restricted area around the plant due to the nuclear disaster in 2011.

Minamisoma, with a population of 46,000, is located north of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the southern and western part of the city is still under the evacuation order, affecting around 11,700 people.

The government has decided to lift the restriction after completing the decontamination work in the residential and surrounding areas, a government spokesperson told state broadcaster NHK.

From next month onwards, Japan intends to allow evacuees to return to the Katsurao and Kawauchi villages too, which means that around 1,480 and 1,040 people will be able to return to their homes respectively.

The last municipality where the evacuation order was completely lifted was Naraha in September 2015, although the inhabitants have returned in small batches due to fear of persisting radiation, a shattered local economy and scarce availability of services.

Around 74,200 citizens throughout the Fukushima prefecture remain evacuated as a result of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, out of which only around 4,500 have returned to the areas where the evacuation order has been lifted, according to the local government in February.

http://www.newsx.com/world/28364-japan-lifts-evacuation-order-for-city-near-nuclear-plant

May 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Evacuation order for Fukushima village to be lifted in June

The government is planning to lift an evacuation order for part of the Fukushima Prefecture village of Kawauchi on June 14, more than five years after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, it has been learned.

The government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters disclosed the plan on April 28. The central government and the Kawauchi Municipal Government will hold a joint briefing session for local residents on May 8 to gather opinions and discuss the matter in order to formally decide the date when the evacuation order will be removed. Once the order is lifted, the entire village of Kawauchi will be free of any nuclear evacuation zones.

The Ogi and Kainosaka districts in the eastern part of the village will be subject to the move. The area — which is home to 52 residents in 19 households — has been designated as a “zone preparing for the lifting of evacuation orders,” where the annual accumulated radiation doses are 20 millisieverts or less.

The evacuation orders that were in place for areas other than the Ogi and Kainosaka districts were lifted in October 2014.

During a meeting of the Kawauchi Municipal Assembly, Osamu Goto — the deputy head of the central government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters — sought understanding from the village with regard to lifting the evacuation order for the remaining districts, citing reasons including the conclusion of decontamination work in those areas. Kawauchi Mayor Yuko Endo is set to accept the request.

Meanwhile, only two local residents from one household have thus far signed up for a program allowing residents to temporarily stay over in evacuation areas to prepare for permanent return. The Kawauchi Municipal Government expects, therefore, that only a few households will return even after the evacuation order has been lifted in the districts.

The central government issued evacuation orders for 11 municipalities around the plant following the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Among these, the orders were lifted in the Miyakoji district of the city of Tamura in April 2014, followed by those in part of the village of Kawauchi and the town of Naraha.

Evacuation orders for the city of Minamisoma and the village of Katsurao are also expected to be lifted shortly, with the exception of areas designated as “difficult-to-return zones” due to high radiation levels.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160428/p2a/00m/0na/020000c

April 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Japan lifts evacuation orders on irradiated towns in preparation for 2020 Summer Olympics

Tokyo Olympics 2020

The Japanese government recently announced they are lifting a four-year evacuation order on a town located 10 miles from the Fukushima disaster site, allowing residents to return full-time if they so desire, according to reports.

The evacuation order was issued in 2011 for the town of Naraha, which was among seven municipalities that were forced to vacate following a 15-meter tsunami triggered by an earthquake, subsequently resulting in the meltdown of three of Fukushima’s Daiichi reactors.

The Daily News reports:

Officials have said radiation levels in Naraha have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts.

But according to a government survey, 53% of evacuees from Naraha, which is 12 miles south of the plant, say they’re either not ready to return home or are undecided. Some say they have found jobs elsewhere over the past few years, while others cite radiation concerns. Some houses are falling down, and wild boars roam at night.

About 100,000 people from about 10 municipalities around the wrecked plant still cannot go home. The government hopes to lift all evacuation orders except for the most contaminated areas closest to the plant by March 2017 — a plan many evacuees criticize as an attempt to showcase recovery ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Other reports have raised concerns over dangerous radiation levels recorded in the area, as well as the town’s lack of infrastructure.

U.S. News and World Report states:

In the once-abandoned town, a segment of a national railway is still out of service, with the tracks covered with grass. Some houses are falling down and wild boars roam around at night.

Only about 100 of the nearly 2,600 households have returned since a trial period began in April. Last year, the government lifted evacuation orders for parts of two nearby towns, but only about half of their former residents have returned.

Source: Fukushimaz Watch

http://www.fukushimawatch.com/2015-09-15-japan-lifts-evacuation-orders-on-irradiated-towns-in-preparation-for-2020-summer-olympics.html

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Evacuation order lifted for Fukushima town

The evacuation order has been lifted for the town of Naraha in Fukushima prefecture, allowing residents to permanently return to their homes there. Naraha, located within 20 kilometres of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is the first of seven municipalities that were fully evacuated to have its order removed.

Nahara evacuation zone - sept 7, 2015

The town’s entire population of 8011 people were evacuated on 12 March 2011, the day after a large earthquake and tsunami struck the nearby Fukushima Daiichi plant. The loss of power at the plant led to core meltdowns at three of the plant’s six units, resulting in the spread of radioactive materials across the area.
The municipality was redesignated as a zone being prepared for the lifting of the evacuation order in August 2012, which meant that residents were allowed to enter the town during daytime hours.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced that, following decontamination and reconstruction work, as of midnight on 5 September residents of Naraha were free to return to their homes.
The government aims to lift all evacuation orders by March 2017, except for certain areas where radiation levels are expected to remain high.

Source: World Nuclear News
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Evacuation-order-lifted-for-Fukushima-town-0709154.html

September 7, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan Reopens Town 12 miles from Fukushima Daiichi, Govt Says Radiation is at Safe Levels.

naraha 7 sept 2015Noraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto, rear left, plants a tree with children of Naraha residents during an event in Naraha, Fukushima

More than four years after the 7,400 residents of the Japanese town of Naraha were evacuated after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant melted down in the wake of a devastating tsunami, the government is allowing people to return.
Following several years of decontamination, Naraha is the first town in the area to allow residents to return. It was evacuated in March 2011 after the Fukushima plant was smashed by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami near Sendai, setting off the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
The central government has said radiation is at safe levels.
“The clock that was stopped has now begun to tick,” Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said at a ceremony attended by about 100 people. Naraha is “at the starting line at last,” he told reporters.
But, according to The Associated Press, a survey indicates that 53 percent of the evacuees from the town, about 12 miles south of the nuclear plant, “say they’re either not ready to return home permanently or are undecided. Some say they’ve found jobs elsewhere over the past few years, while others cite radiation concerns.”
The Japan Times reports: “To address lingering radiation concerns, dosimeters will be handed out and 24-hour monitoring will be conducted at a water filtration plant. Also, tap water will be tested at households worried about radioactive contamination.”
Source:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/05/437792215/japan-reopens-town-shuttered-by-fukushima-nuclear-disaster

September 7, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima town facing population decline, lack of lifelines as evacuation orders lifted

gjkllResidents began returning to the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha on Sept. 5 as evacuation orders issued after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were lifted, but the town’s revival is uncertain as residents fret over the scarcity of medical services and other lifelines.

To make Naraha residents’ return to their homes successful and to increase momentum for the reconstruction of additional towns, the national government is drawing up policies to provide assistance to local businesses.

In the district of Kamikobana, an area near central Naraha that is surrounded by forest, Noriko Sato, 53, smiled on Sept. 4 as she watched her 93-year-old mother-in-law tend to flowers in the garden of the family’s home, to which they returned after having evacuated to the Fukushima prefectural city of Iwaki.

“She is really happy to be back,” Sato said.

The women had participated in a program that began in April to allow temporary overnight stays, launched in preparation for the full lifting of the evacuation orders in Naraha.

Among the 18 households in the district, however, some 30 percent have built new homes in the areas where they evacuated — and though the evacuation orders have been lifted, hardly any of them plan to return anytime soon.

Sato says that she had also planned to resettle permanently outside of Naraha, but that she decided to return due to her mother-in-law’s desire to live in her hometown, which had been her residence for 70 years. Meanwhile, Sato’s 56-year-old husband has been living on his own in Niigata Prefecture, after the foodstuffs company where he works relocated there following the nuclear crisis. With their 28-year-old daughter living and working alone in the city of Iwaki, the family of four continues to live scattered apart.

In the meantime, Naraha residents are voicing their anxiety about life in the town following the lifting of the evacuation orders. For example, a high concentration of radioactive materials remains sunk at the bottom of a dammed lake within the town’s borders that serves as a local water source.

“It is only the elderly who wish to return here,” Sato noted. “In the future, the population will continue to decrease even further,” she added. “And if people don’t return here, places to shop and to seek medical treatment won’t be built. I really don’t know whether this town will make it or not.”

Farmer Tamio Watanabe, 68, spent time cleaning his home on Sept. 4 in preparation for moving back in together with his family, whose members span three generations. “This town is going to experience financial hardship at some point after the government has finished with its period of intensive reconstruction,” he commented worriedly. “The governmental services available here are likely going to decline as well.”

Prior to the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the town did not receive local government tax allocations because it was receiving subsidies for hosting the Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant. Now, the town is receiving tax allocations because its tax revenues have fallen to less than one-third of pre-disaster levels. Anticipated population declines also mean that predictions for the future there remain uncertain.

Sachio and Hiroko Watanabe, aged 56 and 61, respectively, say that with more than four years having passed since the disaster, life as evacuees has become the new norm.

The couple tore down their home in Naraha this year in February, and bought a 38-year-old home in the city of Iwaki, where Sachio’s company had relocated. “We will be watching what happens in Naraha from afar,” Sachio commented softly, an air of sadness about him.

According to prefectural estimates, populations of the 12 municipalities where evacuation orders were issued following the nuclear accident have decreased due to factors such as people relocating their residence registries to the areas where they evacuated.

As a consequence, eight towns and villages in the Fukushima prefectural county of Futaba are considering merging in the future.

Evacuation orders for six whole towns and villages in Futaba County are still in place. Among them, large areas in the three towns of Namie, Futaba and Okuma are designated as “difficult-to-return zones” where annual cumulative radiation exposure levels exceed 50 millisieverts.

The mayor of one of the municipalities in Futaba County commented, “Everyone here realizes that at some point, we will need to begin looking at the possibility of merging.” Meanwhile, a top prefectural official noted, “While we do not have the capacity to undertake such a merger at present, this will eventually be a discussion that we can no longer avoid.”

As evacuation orders were lifted in Naraha, the city of Minamisoma and the town of Kawamata, along with the village of Katsurao, began a program of provisional overnight stays on Aug. 31.

In Minamisoma, however, only 32 percent of residential neighborhoods and other areas where residents visit throughout the course of their daily activities had been decontaminated as of Aug. 7 although the municipal government is aiming to have evacuation orders for the city lifted by April next year.

“Decontamination is ongoing, and there is almost no one around,” commented Toshiyuki Kuroki, 66, a former agricultural cooperative employee who returned with his wife to their home in Minamisoma’s Odaka district.

“We are not yet receiving postal mail delivery, and life here is inconvenient, he added. “But at the place the authorities had rented (as a temporary housing unit for us), we could not work in the garden — and in fact, there was nothing to do at all. Here, at least things are better than they were there.”

Source: Mainichi

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150905p2a00m0na010000c.html

September 7, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Long-time residents of Naraha facing dilemma with lifting of evacuation order

jklllShukan Sakanushi, head priest of the Dairakuin temple in Naraha, performs a ceremony on Sept. 5 praying for the rebuilding of his hometown.

With the lifting of the evacuation order for the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha on Sept. 5, Shukan Sakanushi, head priest of the Dairakuin temple in Naraha, decided to return home.

At midnight, he chanted Buddhist sutras in a ceremony praying for the rebuilding of the town.

“Those who live in temples have to go to where the people are,” Sakanushi, 44, said. “Today is a milestone of sorts. I will return to the temple from today.”

However, because only a small number of long-time residents have returned to Naraha, many parts of the town are quiet and lonely at night. Community bonds remain severed, making a return to Naraha difficult for former residents such as Teruyuki Ishizawa, 75, who now lives in temporary housing in Iwaki.

“I want to return but cannot,” he said. “The town is so dark that I cannot allow my wife to walk outside by herself.”

The lifting of the evacuation order for residents who fled in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami does not mean that all 7,400 residents can simply return home.

Some evacuees have established comfortable lives elsewhere and want to continue with that daily routine.

Others are discouraged by the likelihood that only a few neighbors will return to their communities even with the evacuation order lifted.

For Sakanushi, March 11, 2011, was a special day, but not because of the twin disasters that changed his life. That was the day he was officially appointed head priest of Dairakuin by the headquarters of the Buzan sect of Shingon Buddhism to which the temple belongs.

He intended to take over most of the duties performed by his father, Myokan, 78, who had served as head priest of Dairakuin for 50 years.

However, after the evacuation order was issued for Naraha, Sakanushi’s family of six moved away.

Sakanushi is also an employee of the Naraha town government. He temporarily moved to Aizu-Wakamatsu where he provided support to other evacuees. Subsequently, he moved to Kita-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, where his wife, Chisaki, 39, daughter, Mayu, 11, and son, Homare, 7, had evacuated to. Sakanushi’s parents eventually settled in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, after initially evacuating to Gunma Prefecture.

Although the evacuation order has been lifted, Sakanushi is now the only family member to return to Naraha.

No decision has yet been made about whether to have his two children return. The town government plans to resume the elementary and junior high schools in town from spring 2017. But Homare has no memories of life in Naraha, because he evacuated four and a half years ago.

“I do hold the feeling of wanting to live together as a family,” Sakanushi said. “However, the children have become accustomed to life in Ibaraki. I will think about whether we should all return by the time school resumes here.”

Many of his temple’s followers have also not returned to Naraha. Some are still concerned about the radiation, while others are worried about the inconveniences associated with returning to a community that has been deserted for more than four years.

Sakanushi plans to maintain the temple “annex” that was established in Iwaki, where about 80 percent of Naraha residents have evacuated to.

The tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident have drastically altered the appearance of Naraha.

Homes along the coast remain flattened from the tsunami. Areas that once were rice paddies now are filled with black plastic bags holding dirt contaminated by radiation.

After the nuclear accident, lodging facilities and offices of companies involved in reactor decommissioning and decontamination work related to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been constructed in Naraha. More than 1,000 workers now reside in Naraha, exceeding the number of long-time residents who returned. Those workers also frequent the temporary shopping arcade that has been set up in town.

A couple who now reside in Nagoya have all but given up hope of ever returning to Naraha.

Yoshiharu and Nobuko Matsumoto fled to Nagoya because their oldest daughter lives in Aichi Prefecture.

At first, Nobuko, 79, would say to Yoshiharu, 80, “We will return after a year or so.”

However, their lives as evacuees have now lasted for four and a half years.

Their oldest daughter, who returned temporarily to Naraha to sell off furniture and clean up, told them how their home has deteriorated.

Mold has grown on the house, which has also been damaged by rats. Shrubs have grown taller than the height of the Matsumotos.

This spring, the Matsumotos were told it would cost 10 million yen ($84,000) to repair the home.

That was when Nobuko decided, “I will remain in Nagoya.”

Yoshiharu was still determined to return to Naraha.

In early August, the entire family returned to Naraha with the intention of completing the clean-up work.

Even though he had back problems, Yoshiharu made the trip to Naraha, but he could not stop the tears from flowing when he saw his home for the first time in more than four years.

A next-door neighbor had begun destroying their home. The neighbor across the street had also decided to do the same. Of the family of five who used to live in the back of the Matsumoto home, only the grandmother in her 80s is planning to return.

In total, only one neighbor among their acquaintances was planning to return to Naraha.

“I want to return, but if I cannot farm and there are no friends, I would not be able to go on living there,” Yoshiharu said. “When I saw our home, I felt we had moved far away.”

He still has not decided whether to tear down the home because he fears that would anger his ancestors. Yoshiharu has asked his children to, at the very least, leave the family grave in Naraha.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201509060018

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan lifts evacuation order for town near doomed nuke plant

NARAHA, Japan (AP) — Japan’s government on Saturday lifted a 4 1/2-year-old evacuation order for the northeastern town of Naraha that had sent all of the town’s 7,400 residents away following the disaster at the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant.

Naraha became the first to get the order lifted among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the plant’s reactors into triple meltdowns in March 2011.

The central government has said radiation levels in Naraha have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts.

According to a government survey, however, 53 percent of the evacuees from Naraha, which is 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the nuclear plant, say they’re either not ready to return home permanently or are undecided. Some say they’ve found jobs elsewhere over the past few years, while others cite radiation concerns.

Naraha represents a test case, as most residents remain cautious amid lingering health concerns and a lack of infrastructure. In the once-abandoned town, a segment of a national railway is still out of service, with the tracks covered with grass. Some houses are falling down and wild boars roam around at night.

Only about 100 of the nearly 2,600 households have returned since a trial period began in April. Last year, the government lifted evacuation orders for parts of two nearby towns, but only about half of their former residents have returned.

Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said that Saturday marked an important milestone.

“Our clock started moving again,” he said during a ceremony held at a children’s park. “The lifting of the evacuation order is one key step, but this is just a start.”

Matsumoto said he hoped Naraha could set a good example of a recovering town for the other affected municipalities.

About 100,000 people from about 10 municipalities around the wrecked plant still cannot go home. The government hopes to lift all evacuation orders except for the most contaminated areas closest to the plant by March 2017 — a plan many evacuees criticize as an attempt to showcase Fukushima’s recovery ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Matsumoto said that fear of radiation and nuclear safety was still present, and that Naraha had a long way to go in its recovery. The town will be without a medical clinic until October, while a new prefectural hospital won’t be ready until February.

A grocery store started free delivery services in July, and a shopping center will open next year. Still, many residents, especially those who don’t drive, face limited options for their daily necessities.

Residents have been given personal dosimeters to check their own radiation levels. To accommodate their concerns, the town is also running 24-hour monitoring at a water filtration plant, testing tap water for radioactive materials.

Toshiko Yokota, a 53-year-old homemaker who had to leave her Naraha house after the disaster, said Saturday that she came back to attend the ceremony and clean her home, and that she eventually wants to move back with her husband. Their house was damaged by rats, bugs and rainwater leaks in their absence, and still needs to be fully renovated, but she hopes to return in a few years.

“My friends are all in different places because of the nuclear accident, and the town doesn’t even look the same, but this is still my hometown and it really feels good to be back,” said Yokota, who currently lives in another town in Fukushima prefecture.

“I still feel uneasy about some things, like radiation levels and the lack of a medical facility,” she said. “In order to come back, I have to keep up my hope and stay healthy.”

Source: AP

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/9f71192d4ea144a3bad42ad564ef5f7a/japan-town-near-damaged-nuclear-plant-lifts-evacuation

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Evacuation order lifted in Fukushima’s Naraha Town

Japan’s government has lifted an evacuation order for Naraha Town, near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The measure took effect on Friday at midnight. Nearly all of the area is located 20 kilometers from the plant in Fukushima Prefecture and was subject to the March 2011 evacuation order.

The government says decontamination has been completed in the area. Officials say the town’s environment is almost ready for residents to return to their homes.

This is the third evacuation order to be lifted since the accident. The previous 2 were the Miyakoji district in Tamura City and the eastern part of Kawauchi Village.

But Naraha is the first municipality among the 7 towns and villages around the plant to have its evacuation order lifted.

These 7 municipalities totally emptied of residents, as well as local government workers. The evacuation was ordered by the central government soon after the disaster.

The lifting of the evacuation order allows the town’s approximately 7,300 residents to return to their homes. It also permits them to resume commercial and business activities.

At the same time, the town faces the challenge of addressing residents’ concerns about radiation and building a safe environment for its residents. It also faces the task of resuming the town’s commercial and medical services for the first time in 4-and-a-half years.
An evacuation order remains in place for about 70,000 people in 9 municipalities surrounding the Daiichi plant.

The central government plans to lift the order for the remaining municipalities once decontamination is complete and services are capable of supporting people’s lives. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150905_07.html

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Evacuation order lifted in Naraha, but few returning home

naaha evacuation order lifted sept 5 2015

NARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture–Authorities lifted an evacuation order for 7,400 residents of this small town close to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Sept. 5, but very few homeowners have indicated they plan to return anytime soon.

Most of Naraha is located within the 20-kilometer-radius evacuation zone surrounding the stricken plant. Even though the evacuation order was lifted at midnight for the entire town, there are lingering fears of radiation contamination and concerns over a lack of essentials that would allow residents to pick up the threads of their former lives.

Of the seven Fukushima municipalities where all residents were ordered to evacuate after the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, Naraha is the first one to have the evacuation order removed.

One evacuee who did return to his Naraha home was 68-year-old Fusao Sakamoto.

“Looking back, I feel my four-and-half-years as an evacuee was agonizingly long,” the landscape gardener said.

According to the town government, only 780 residents of 351 households, or just over 10 percent of the entire population, were registered at the end of August with the town’s program to allow them to stay overnight to prepare for permanent resettlement.

It was the third removal of an evacuation order among areas in the former no-go zone set within 20 km of the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The number of residents allowed to return home is the largest with the lifting of the Naraha evacuation order. It is expected to set a precedent for large-scale resettlement of Fukushima evacuees.

Almost all Naraha residents fled from their hometown on March 12, the day after the nuclear disaster unfolded. The Fukushima plant is located in the nearby towns of Okuma and Futaba.

Naraha was initially designated as a no-entry zone, which in principle prohibited residents from entering the town. But it was redesignated as a zone being prepared for the lifting of the evacuation order in August 2012, which meant that residents were allowed to enter the town during daytime hours.

With decontamination work and restoration of basic infrastructure largely completed, evacuees were allowed to return home for long-term stays in April to prepare for permanent resettlement.

On Sept. 5, the town government, which relocated its functions to Iwaki and other municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, began to resume operations at the town office building in central Naraha.

“The clock has just started ticking again for our town with the lifting of the evacuation order after many months,” Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto told town officials. “We will accelerate efforts to achieve full recovery of the town.”

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201509050035

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: Japan ends evacuation of Naraha as ‘radiation at safe level’

The town’s 7,400 residents are allowed to return to their homes after the four-year-old evacuation order was lifted on Saturday

naraha town evacuation order lifted sept 5 2015 A man lights candles in Naraha, Japan. Residents of Naraha will return from Saturday to live in the town near the Fukushima nuclear power plant for the first time since the 2011 disaster.

The Japanese town of Naraha has lifted a 2011 evacuation order that sent all its 7,400 residents away after the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled by a tsunami that led to a meltdown and contamination.

Naraha was the first among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the reactors into meltdown.

The government says radiation levels in town have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts, and on Saturday lifted the four-year-old evacuation order.

The town represents a test case, as most residents remain cautious amid lingering health concerns and a lack of infrastructure. Only about 100 of the nearly 2,600 households have returned since a trial period begun in April.

The Naraha mayor, Yukiei Matsumoto, said Saturday marked an important milestone. “Our clock started moving again,” Matsumoto said during a ceremony held at a children’s park. “The lifting of the evacuation order is one key step but this is just a start.”

He said fear of radiation and nuclear safety was still present and the town had a long way ahead for recovery. It would be without a medical clinic until October and a new prefectural hospital would not be ready until February next year.

A grocery store started free delivery services in July, and a shopping centre will open in 2016. Still, many residents, especially those who do not drive, face limited options for their daily necessities.

Residents are given personal dosimeters to check their own radiation levels. To accommodate their concerns the town is also running 24-hour monitoring at a water filtration plant, testing tap water for radioactive materials.

In 2014 the government lifted evacuation orders for parts of two nearby towns.

Source: The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/05/fukushima-japan-ends-evacuation-of-naraha-as-radiation-at-safe-level

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment