No-go advisory to be lifted in part of Tamura

JIJI

An evacuation advisory issued after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant meltdowns in March 2011 will likely be lifted April 1 in part of the city of Tamura.

The government explained plans for lifting the advisory in the Miyakoji district at a meeting with its residents on Sunday.

The Miyakoji district was part of the former no-go zone set 20 km away from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which was crippled by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

It will be the first time for the evacuation advisory to be lifted completely in any part of the zone. Residents from the Miyakoji district will be able to return home permanently once it is removed.

The government headquarters for the nuclear disaster will make a final decision on the advisory by March 31. Its decontamination efforts in the district were completed last June.

The government decided to lift the advisory after Tepco’s compensation program for residents there and measures to help them rebuild their lives were worked out in December.

As of the end of 2013, 358 people representing 117 households were registered as residents in the Miyakoji district. According to a survey by the government and other parties, 44 percent of the residents intend to return.

Sunday’s meeting was attended by Kazuyoshi Akaba, state minister of economy, trade and industry, and other government officials, as well as Tamura Mayor Yukei Tomitsuka.

The government explained steps to be taken ahead of the residents’ return, including the restoration of commercial and medical facilities. The government also briefed residents about plans to lend out dosimeters to help them monitor their health conditions.

Some of the residents repeated their desire for the evacuation advisory to be lifted early, while others demanding another round of decontamination opposed it.

In April 2012, the Miyakoji district’s no-go zone status was changed to one permitting daytime visitation and preparations for removal of the evacuation advisory. Last October, the government presented plans to lift the advisory on Nov. 1. At the time, however, many residents were opposed due to persistent concerns about radioactive fallout, leading the government to withdraw the plan.

Among other Fukushima areas included in the former no-go zones, preparations to lift the evacuation advisory are expected to fully start in the village of Kawauchi and the town of Naraha. Decontamination work is nearly complete in Kawauchi and is expected to finish at the end of March in Naraha.