Tamotsu Baba, mayor of Namie town in Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 18 indicated his readiness to accept the central government’s proposal by the year-end to reclassify the town’s evacuation zones into three areas in line with radiation levels.
One of the three areas is classified as difficult to return to for a long period of time due to high levels of radiation. The other two are a residence-restricted area with visitation-only access and an area ready for the lifting of evacuation orders.
Speaking to reporters after attending a symposium in the city of Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, the mayor said, “I’d like to reclassify the town into three areas by the end of the year.” The Namie municipal government had suspended talks with the central government on the reclassification proposal, citing Tokyo’s slow response to the town government’s request on the payment of damages and health supervision for the town’s residents.
Baba, however, has apparently judged the way for settling these issues has been paved, and decided to resume talks with the central government on the reclassification.
The Namie municipal government plans to launch talks with the central government on how to draw the line between the areas for reclassification and to explain the matter to the town assembly and residents where necessary.
During a question-and-answer session at the symposium from residents on the reclassification, the mayor noted the importance of the payment of damages, decontamination work and health supervision for residents.
“The reclassification will be made in the not-so-distant future,” Baba said, adding the central government has reacted to the requests. “Many people wish to resume normal life now that 17 months have passed since the outbreak of the nuclear disaster” at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.