Debris clearing starts in Futaba, more than 3½ years after tsunami


Workers started clearing debris on Wednesday in some parts of Futaba near the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, nearly four years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis.

The Fukushima Prefecture town is in the evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant.

The Environment Ministry plans to remove 13,000 tons of debris by March 2016 in areas designated to prepare for the lifting of the evacuation order. No such plan is in place for other areas of the town due to higher radiation levels.

After a silent tribute to victims of the disaster, ministry officials and other people launched the operation using heavy machinery in the Morotake area.

“At last, Futaba town’s reconstruction begins,” said Rokuro Saito, 77, a community leader in Morotake.

Saito has been living in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in the wake of the disaster.