18% of Fukushima evacuees may be unable to return home even after 10 years

Kyodo

Nearly 20 percent of evacuees might not be able to return to their homes in evacuation areas near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant even 10 years after the disaster, according to an estimate the government made available Saturday.

According to the estimate, 18% of the residents in 11 municipalities in the government-set evacuation zones may have difficulties returning to their homes on the assumption that effects of ongoing work to dispose of radioactive materials in the communities are not taken into consideration.

In the towns of Okuma where part of the nuclear plant stands, for example, 81 percent of the residents may have difficulties returning home and the figure came to 49 percent for the town of Futaba, which hosts the remaining part of the plant.

The government made the estimate available during a meeting with local governments in Fukushima Prefecture, including the 11 municipalities, as part of a plan of rehabilitation from the March 2011 nuclear accident triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami.