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Fukushima district becomes first area to have evacuation order lifted

The evacuation designation was officially lifted on April 1, but there are still lingering fears over the radiation in the area and only a few residents are expected to return. However, their 100,000 yen (approx. US$964) compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and the government is set to end a year after the order was lifted, and the 358 people from 117 households that were evacuated in 2011 might have no choice but to go back to their residences.

The decontamination work in the area was actually finished in June 2013 and some residents were even allowed to stay overnight at their houses by August last year, although they had to give advance notice if they wanted to do so. In February this year, the central government announced they were lifting the evacuation order later this year, but residents remained skeptical that this will make any difference in the recovery of their neighbourhood. Some say they feel more comfortable in the temporary housing where they have been staying in the past 3 years. The latest survey by the Environment Ministry showed that there is still 0.9 microsieverts per hour of radiation in one of the towns in Miyakoji, which is still four times the maximum amount that the residents are looking at to call it safe to return home.

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