The Cabinet decided Friday on a plan to lift evacuation orders by the end of fiscal 2016 for many of the areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, despite strong public concerns over radiation contamination.
The revised guidelines include enhanced support for local businesses damaged by the events of March 2011.
The government now plans to lift the evacuation orders for areas around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant in which overnight stays are basically restricted, allowing some 54,800 residents, or roughly 70 percent of the total evacuees, to return home.
Whether the evacuees will actually return is uncertain amid concerns over contamination and changes in living conditions.
As previously reported, evacuated residents will likely be given the option of returning to areas where doses are as high as 50 millisieverts a year, by the end of March 2017. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry's present limit for decontamination workers is 50 millisieverts a year and 100 millisieverts over five years.
The new plan says nothing about when the government will lift the remainder of the evacuation orders for areas with higher radiation levels.
The help for businesses would target 8,000 enterprises that were forced to relocate due to the evacuation. The support would last for two years. Businesses would get The support measures include setting up a public-private organization to provide consultations for the 8,000 businesses that were forced to evacuate after the disaster and help them get back on their feet.
Information from JIJI added.