Japan to Lift Evacuation Order in Part of Fukushima Village

Jiji Press
Makoto Sugioka, center, mayor of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, speaks at a press conference in the village on Saturday.

IITATE, Fukushima (Jiji Press) — Japan is set to lift its nuclear disaster evacuation order in part of the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 1.

The central government and other related parties including Iitate on Saturday agreed on the removal of the order in the village’s district designated as a reconstruction base in the so-called difficult-to-return zone, where entry is still heavily restricted due to high levels of radiation.

The removal will mean that all of the districts designated as reconstruction bases in six Fukushima municipalities have exited the order, introduced due to the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in the northeastern prefecture.

“It is essential to lift the order to keep our hopes for reconstruction and revival alive for the future,” Iitate Mayor Makoto Sugioka told a joint news conference with a central government task force and the Fukushima prefectural government.

“We’ll continue working to get the evacuation order in the village lifted entirely,” Sugioka added.

The district where the order will be lifted this time is 1.86 square kilometers of land in the Nagadoro area, accounting for 0.8% of the entire village. The district has 197 registered residents of 62 households.

The evacuation order once covered the entire village, causing all of some 6,500 residents to evacuate. The order was lifted by March 2017 in all of the village excluding Nagadoro.

Iitate’s current population is about 1,500.

Of the reconstruction bases in the six municipalities, that in the village of Katsurao was the first to exit the evacuation order, marking the shift June 12, 2022.

The town of Okuma followed on June 30 that year, and the town of Futaba in August the same year. The order was lifted for the reconstruction bases in the towns of Namie and Tomioka in this year’s March and April, respectively.