On Nov. 30, a couple who had previously evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture spent their first night in a decade back in their old home in the village of Katsurao, which remains part of an exclusion zone due to high levels of radiation emitted during the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Their stay marked the first time residents had been allowed to remain in the area overnight.

The move is part of the government's preparations before a planned lifting of the restrictions in some areas from spring of next year. Under the current rules, which have been gradually eased over past years, residents have been allowed into the zone for up to two hours at a time.