Evacuation advisories lifted in Fukushima towns

30 September 2011

The Japanese government has lifted an evacuation advisory for five municipalities located between 20 and 30 kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The advisory covers Hirono town, Naraha town, Kawauchi village, Tamura city and Minamisoma city, all within Fukushima prefecture. Although the government had earlier advised people in those areas to be prepared to stay indoors or leave their homes should the situation at the damaged nuclear reactors deteriorate, some 28,500 residents - about half the population - had chosen to leave anyway. The five municipalities have already submitted their respective plans for decontaminating the areas and restoring key infrastructure. The lifting of the advisory marks the first time that the government has revoked an evacuation-related designation since the accident began. With the damaged reactors becoming more stable and radiation levels having decreased, the government aims to allow more people from evacuated areas to return home permanently. At present nobody is allowed to live within 20 kilometres of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, while people living up to 30 kilometres away have been told to be prepared to evacuate. In addition, some other areas, such as Itate village, have been evacuated due to radiation dose rates over 20 millisieverts per year.