Last no-go zone designation in Fukushima lifted

Kyodo, JIJI

The government lifted the last no-go zone designation in Fukushima Prefecture on Tuesday, more than 26 months after three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant suffered core meltdowns, but certain areas remain uninhabitable.

In the town of Futaba, the last no-go zone has been reorganized into areas where the return of residents is deemed “difficult” and those where preparations can be made for the lifting of evacuation orders.

No-go zones were designated in nine municipalities within 20 km of the nuclear plant in April 2011 and have since been gradually eliminated.

However, zones designated as difficult to return to are still in force in a wide area around the plant.

All 6,520 residents of Futaba have evacuated from the town and the municipal government is now operating from Kasu, Saitama Prefecture.

Zones where the return of residents is deemed difficult have estimated annual radiation exposure exceeding 50 millisieverts. These areas cover 96 percent of Futaba.

Following the reclassification of Futaba, Kawamata is now the only town that has not been rezoned since the initial demarcation. Part of the town is an evacuation preparation area, where annual radiation levels are less than 20 millisieverts and where evacuees might be able to return.