Evacuation order lifted for Fukushima town

07 September 2015

The evacuation order has been lifted for the town of Naraha in Fukushima prefecture, allowing residents to permanently return to their homes there. Naraha, located within 20 kilometres of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is the first of seven municipalities that were fully evacuated to have its order removed.

Nahara evacuation zone - 460 (METI)
Naraha - highlighted in the south of the Fukushima evacuation zone - has been recategorized from a green area ('ready to return') to unrestricted white (Image: METI)

The town's entire population of 8011 people were evacuated on 12 March 2011, the day after a large earthquake and tsunami struck the nearby Fukushima Daiichi plant. The loss of power at the plant led to core meltdowns at three of the plant's six units, resulting in the spread of radioactive materials across the area.

The municipality was redesignated as a zone being prepared for the lifting of the evacuation order in August 2012, which meant that residents were allowed to enter the town during daytime hours.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced that, following decontamination and reconstruction work, as of midnight on 5 September residents of Naraha were free to return to their homes.

The government aims to lift all evacuation orders by March 2017, except for certain areas where radiation levels are expected to remain high.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News