FUKUSHIMA–The government of a village forced to relocate due to the Fukushima nuclear crisis will return to the village in April, it has been learned, a move it hopes also will encourage residents to come back.
The village of Kawauchi in Fukushima Prefecture will be the first of the nine town and village governments that evacuated their offices to return to its original municipality.
The village functions were moved to Koriyama City in the prefecture because a section of Kawauchi fell inside the government-designated no-entry zone around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and the rest was named an emergency evacuation preparation area.
The Kawauchi municipal government has decided it will officially issue a statement Tuesday urging village residents to return.
Kawauchi Mayor Yuko Endo told village assembly members and administrative district leaders about the return plan Friday. Public schools and the village-run clinic will reopen in April.
Most of Kawauchi’s 3,000 residents had to evacuate–some to other prefectures–after the March 11 quake and tsunami triggered the crisis at the nuclear plant. Although the emergency evacuation preparation area status was lifted in late September, public facilities and many shops remain closed. Only about 200 people have come back to the village.
In November, the municipal government started decontamination work in the village. It plans to finish decontaminating public facilities and homes of families with children by the end of March, and has set a target of completing the work for the entire emergency evacuation preparation area by the end of December.
Of about 940 houses in this area, the village plans to finish decontaminating about 150 within March. The remainder should be completed by the end of 2012.
The village will ask the central government to complete its decontamination work in the 20-kilometer no-entry zone this year.