Living in no-go zone allowed for first time

JIJI

The government Tuesday lifted the evacuation advisory for part of the city of Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, more than three years after the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The Miyakoji district is the first to have the advisory removed in the 11 municipalities near the Tokyo Electric Power Co. complex.

As of the end of February, 357 people in 117 households were registered as residents of the district. According to an official survey, 44 percent said they hope to return home permanently.

However, few residents will come back soon, sources said.

Shortly after the start of the nuclear crisis, the district was designated as part of the no-go zone stretching 20 km from the plant in all directions.

The no-go status was lifted for the district in April 2012, and it was reclassified as an area where entry was allowed during daytime so residents could prepare for returning to their homes after the lifting of the evacuation advisory.

Last August, the government launched a long-stay program in the district following the completion of infrastructure restoration work in March 2013 and decontamination work that June.

Under the program, evacuees can stay overnight in the district for extended periods for intensive preparation for their permanent return.

At the end of February, 90 people in 27 households were taking part in the long-stay program. They will be the first residents to come back.