4 March 2017
The central government’s Local Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters in Fukushima Prefecture told Namie town -- wholly evacuated since the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant -- on March 3 that it will lift an evacuation order for parts of the municipality on March 31. The measure will apply to a residency-restricted zone and a zone being prepared for the end of evacuation, while a “difficult-to-return” zone will remain intact. It will be formalized at a meeting of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters in Tokyo soon.
At a meeting in Fukushima city, the government exchanged a confirmation agreement with the prefectural and municipal administrations, committing the state to continuing efforts on its own responsibility for the restoration of the two zones following the termination of evacuation. “We will make all-out efforts with a desire not only to restore the former town of Namie but also to create a new town,” said Yosuke Takagi, state minister of economy, trade and industry who heads the Fukushima emergency response task force. Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba vowed to "exert utmost efforts to restore our hometown.”
The two zones where the evacuation order is to be removed correspond to about 20% of Namie’s total area. Their combined registered population is 15,327 of 5,841 households (as of Jan. 31), accounting for some 80% of the total. The population to be covered by the end of evacuation is larger than in other municipalities where evacuation orders have been lifted so far. But the no-go zone that covers the bulk of the town will remain in place. Its registered population is 3,137 people in 1,125 families.
(Translated by Kyodo News)