Norio Kanno, the mayor of Iidate where residents of the entire village were evacuated due to the March 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said on March 4 that he is considering setting March 2016 as the target time for lifting evacuation orders for four administrative districts currently designated as zones where preparations can be made toward lifting the evacuation orders, as well as 15 administrative districts where habitation is restricted.
The Environment Ministry’s radiation cleanup work in residential areas in Iidate’s zones where preparations can be made toward lifting the evacuation orders and those where habitation is restricted is expected to be completed at the end of March 2015. Kanno said he set the provisional target time for lifting the zone designations after determining that once the central government’s decontamination is finished, it will likely take about a year for residents to repair their homes and carry out other preparations for returning.
But there is a possibility that the actual lifting of the evacuation orders may be delayed depending on how the decontamination work progresses. The local government will consult with the village assembly and residents this fall to decide on a more specific target time.
The districts where preparations can be made toward lifting the evacuation orders are located in the western and northern parts of Iidate, and the number of people registered as residents in these districts was 788 as of the end of February. The districts where habitation is restricted are mainly in the central part of the village, with 5,260 registered residents.