FUKUSHIMA – The population of Fukushima Prefecture fell by 115,458, or 5.7 percent, from 2010 to stand at 1,913,606 as of Oct. 1, marking the lowest level since the end of World War II, the prefecture has said.
The size of the drop, shown in a preliminary report on the census for 2015 released Friday, was the largest on record, due mainly to the evacuation of residents after the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.
The population was zero in the towns of Okuma, Futaba, Tomioka and Namie, all of which were evacuated.
The prefecture’s population fell for the fourth consecutive time in the census, which is conducted every five years.
By municipality, the population plunged 87.3 percent to 976 in the town of Naraha, where the government’s evacuation advisory was mostly lifted in September.
The population dropped 28.3 percent to 2,021 in the village of Kawauchi, where the evacuation advisory for its eastern part was removed in October 2014.
The figures indicate a lack of progress in the return of residents to the two municipalities.
By contrast, the population grew 0.6 to 2.1 percent in the cities of Fukushima, Iwaki and Soma, as well as the town of Miharu, as they accepted evacuees from areas close to the Tepco plant and workers involved in reconstruction-related projects, such as the decontamination of areas tainted by radioactive materials from the plant.
The number of households in Fukushima Prefecture rose 2.2 percent to 736,616, up for the 19th time in a row since the first census.