Lifting of evacuation advisory looms for tainted Tamura

JIJI

The radiation evacuation advisory imposed on part of Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, might be lifted in April at the request of residents, it has been learned.

The area would be the first in the former exclusion zone set up during the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis to have its advisory lifted. Tamura is within 20 km of the ravaged Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which suffered three partial meltdowns triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The 20-km radius hot zone has since been reorganized by radiation level.

At a meeting of five representatives from Tamura and the central government, and 25 residents from the Miyakoji district, residents called for the lifting the advisory on April 1 to match the reopening of the schools, residents who attended the meeting said Sunday.

A central government representative then pledged to make efforts to grant the request, they said. Another meeting will be held with other residents on Saturday.

The government intends to reveal its schedule for removing the evacuation advisory in February, sources said. Work on decontaminating fallout-tainted residential areas of the Miyakoji district was completed last year.

Families with children, however, have called on the government to carry out a new round of decontamination and to set forth clear standards for the cleanup work. The government has said it is difficult to define such standards.

At Sunday’s meeting, a government representative said it would discuss the additional cleanup work for areas with high radiation levels with the Tamura Municipal Government, the participants said.

The government hopes to find common ground with residents, the sources said.

“We want a clear government commitment to decontaminating areas with high radiation levels,” said Kazuo Endo, a 65-year-old leader of residents’ group.

In October last year, Tamura Mayor Yukei Tomizuka said he would try to get the evacuation advisory lifted for the Miyakoji district this spring but did not give a timetable.