The prefectural government in Fukushima says radiation levels in local forests in the year ending in March are down by half compared to 2 years ago.
Officials released the data in a meeting with people who work in the forestry industry in Fukushima. They have been monitoring radiation levels at 362 sites in the prefecture’s forests.
They say the average radiation for the sites was 0.91 microsieverts per hour in the year following the March 11, 2011, nuclear disaster, which was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
The officials found that the average radiation level fell by about half to 0.44 microsieverts during the year ending in March 2014.
They say the amount of radioactive materials in new leaves was about one fifth of those contained in leaves that started growing before the disaster.
The prefectural government forecasts forest radiation will drop to around 30 percent from the current level over the next 20 years.
One official from the prefecture’s forestry planning department says workers’ fear of radiation has caused some forests to be abandoned. That’s causing concern about long-term management of forestry resources.
He added the prefecture will continue to monitor radiation and provide more information.