Little hope of evacuee homecoming

JIJI

There is still little prospect that nuclear refugees will be able to return to their homes near the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, the government said in a new report.

The report, submitted to the Diet on Tuesday, notes that the reclassification of evacuation zones around the plant has been completed and that the cleanup is continuing.

But the government failed to specify when evacuated residents — some 81,000 as of September — will be able to return to their hometowns.

Challenges cited by the government include the need to ease health worries and stop false rumors about radiation exposure.

According to the report, which covers progress between October 2012 and September this year on reconstructing areas hit by the 2011 natural and nuclear disasters, the total number of evacuees is now around 280,000, compared with about 470,000 shortly after the disasters.

By March 2016, when the current intensive reconstruction period ends, some 90 percent of planned public homes for disaster victims are expected to be completed in Iwate Prefecture and about some 80 percent in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, the report says. The number of such homes necessary in Fukushima has still not been fixed, the report notes.