Fukushima’s Namie sees no-go zone designation lifted

JIJI

The no-go zone designation was lifted Monday for the town of Namie near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In line with the move, the Fukushima Prefecture town was realigned into three evacuation zones according to estimated annual radiation doses.

The rezoning lifted restrictions on entry into Namie’s eastern coastal area, where 80 percent of the town’s population, totaling about 20,000, lived before the March 2011 meltdown catastrophe started at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant. But no residents will be allowed to stay overnight in the area.

Several staff members were set to be stationed at the municipal office starting Monday.

The costal area was reorganized into two evacuation zones — one with an estimated annual radiation dose of 20 millisieverts or less and the other with between 20 and 50 millisieverts. For those zones, the evacuation advisory is expected to be lifted in 2016.

Restrictions on entry were kept in place for the remaining area, where homecomings will not be allowed at least until 2017 due to high radiation doses, which are estimated at over 50 millisieverts per year.

Namie was the ninth of 11 Fukushima municipalities to undergo such rezoning after they were designated for evacuation because of the nuclear fallout.

Futaba, one of the nuclear plant’s two host towns, is the only remaining municipality where the no-go zone designation is still in place.