A central government survey has found that 62.6% of evacuees from the Miyakoji district of Tamura city, Fukushima Prefecture, now live in the homes they had at the time of the 2011 earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster following the lifting of an evacuation order in April 2014. The ratio was 22.8 percentage points above that in the previous survey taken in October last year, according to the Reconstruction Agency study released on Dec. 4. The latest survey also covered the Yamakiya district of Kawamata town.
The Miyakoji district was the first area to have the evacuation order lifted in the 20-kilometer-radius exclusion zone set up around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. immediately after the disaster. The survey showed 24.2% of respondents now live in quarters other than their pre-disaster homes, down 11.3 points, and 9.1% replied they are plying between temporary homes and their old residences, down 8.1 points.
Of the Miyakoji residents not residing in their old homes, 33.3% said they want to live in the district again and 18.2% desired to live in other districts in Tamura. The combined total of both categories exceeded 50%. These findings showed a steady trend of former residents returning to the city following progress in radioactive cleanup operations, a Reconstruction Agency official said.
The other survey covering former residents in the Yamakiya district found 44.2% of respondents want to return to their old homes, down 1.3 points from the previous survey conducted in December 2014. It also showed 16.4% were undecided as to lasting returns, down 6.8 points, and 24.9% said they are determined never to return, up 2.3 points.
(Translated by Kyodo News)