naraha

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Train runs to resume on another Joban Line stretch Dec. 10, fukushima minpo, 8/09/2016

original article:http://fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=705

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) announced July 28 it will resume regular train runs Dec. 10 on another stretch of the Joban Line damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. To be reopened is a 22.6-kilometer portion between Soma Station in Soma city, Fukushima Prefecture, and Hamayoshida Station in Watari town, Miyagi Prefecture.

It follows the resumption of train services on a 9.4-kilometer stretch of the line between Odaka and Haranomachi stations in Minamisoma city on July 12 when an evacuation order was lifted in most parts of the Fukushima Prefecture city hit by the tsunami-caused nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Soma-Hamayoshida link will thus connect Minamisoma’s Odaka district to the Miyagi prefectural capital Sendai by rail.

The Soma-Hamayoshida stretch includes an 18.2-kilometer route between Komagamine Station in Shinchi town and Hamayoshida, with tracks for 14.6 kilometers of the route moved inland from an area close to the coastline. The Shinchi Station structure that was washed away by the tsunami is being rebuilt at a location about 300 meters southwest. The route was initially scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2017 but the date for resumption has been moved up following faster-than-expected progress in land purchases.

The last suspended stretch, from Tatsuta Station in Naraha town to Odaka Station, will remain closed for the present due to its location close to the crippled nuclear plant but JR East plans to reopen it gradually by the end of fiscal 2019 on March 31, 2020.

 

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House demolition in 11 evacuated municipalities to be completed by March 2018, fukushima minpo, 7/22/2016

The Environment Ministry is set to have completed by the end of fiscal 2017 through March 2018 the demolition of dilapidated residences in 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture where residents have been evacuated since the 2011 nuclear accident, according to ministry officials. It was the first time that the ministry has specified the date for completing work to dismantle evacuated houses in accordance with requests from residents.

The national government has made clear its policy to lift evacuation orders in all the affected municipalities by next March except for areas where permanent returns are deemed difficult due to still high levels of radiation from nuclear fallout stemming from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Against that background, the ministry sees the need to accelerate the demolition work, step up the restoration of a living environment and pave the way for the homecoming of evacuees.

Covered by the ministry project are the cities of Tamura and Minamisoma, the towns of Kawamata, Naraha, Tomioka, Okuma, Futaba and Namie, and the villages of Kawauchi, Katsurao and Iitate. Evacuees had applied for the demolition of about 8,800 houses as of June this year. Of the total, residences in Tamura and Kawauchi have been dismantled, leaving some 5,600 others yet to be demolished, according to the ministry.

Demolition work is to be finished by the end of fiscal 2016 on a total of 2,230 houses in Minamisoma, Naraha and Katsurao, where the removal of evacuation zones has made progress, and on 400 homes in Futaba, Okuma and Kawamata, where the number of demolition applications is relatively small. The ministry is set to accomplish demolition of 2,970 residences by fiscal 2017 in Namie, Tomioka and Iitate, where applications are in excess of 1,000 each.

Rent-free housing scheme for Fukushima evacuees to be extended for another year, fukushima minpo, 7/16/2016

The Fukushima prefectural government has decided to extend the current rent-free housing program for evacuees from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster for another year until the end of March 2018. The decision was taken on July 15 at a meeting of the prefecture’s task force for the promotion of post-disaster reconstruction held at the prefectural government office in Fukushima city.

Under the program, evacuees are provided free of charge with temporary public housing built for them or with leased private-sector accommodation. Subject to the scheme are evacuated residents in 10 municipalities which have evacuation zones set up after the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant or where evacuation orders have been lifted. But the town of Naraha, one of the municipalities, has chosen not to extend the program and will instead consider whether to continue offering free housing on an individual basis depending on progress in the acquisition of permanent homes.

The decision to prolong the program for the fifth time was based on the prefectural government’s judgment that it needs to be extended for another year because of differences in the timing of the evacuation order being lifted and progress in the construction of permanent public housing for evacuees as well as progress in the building and repair of homes.

The 10 municipalities covered by the program are the whole areas of five towns — Naraha, Tomioka, Okuma, Futaba and Namie — and two villages — Katsurao and Iitate — as well as limited areas of Minamisoma city, Kawamata town and Kawauchi village. In Minamisoma, the program applies only to evacuees from “difficult-to-return” and “residency-restricted” zones plus a zone preparing for the lifting of the evacuation order. In Kawamata, it applies to those from residency-restricted and preparation zones while in Kawauchi, it covers evacuees from the Kainosaka and Hagi areas of the Shimokawauchi district.

The prefectural government is to consider whether to extend the program again beyond March 2018 for nine of the municipalities, except for Naraha, while watching how soon the evacuation order will be removed.

Naraha residents can return home Sept. 5 in lifting of evacuation order, asahi, 7/7/15

Naraha residents can return home Sept. 5 in lifting of evacuation order

NARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture–The people of Naraha, a town that was evacuated after the disaster at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, will be allowed to return home Sept. 5, the government said.

It will be the first among seven municipalities to have an evacuation order for all residents lifted since the meltdowns at the plant in March 2011.

The central government notified Naraha officials July 6 that it had fixed the date. Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto accepted the plan, saying the town will help residents resettle.

The removal of the evacuation order is aimed at “accelerating the town’s recovery” from the nuclear disaster, said Yosuke Takagi, state minister of economy, trade and industry, during a meeting with Matsumoto.

Takagi, who heads the on-site headquarters of the nuclear disaster response task force, said the government believes that radioactive contamination in the town is “not dangerous enough to continue forcing evacuation on residents who want to return home.”

He also pointed out that prolonged evacuation will have a negative impact on residents’ health and will deprive the town of recovery opportunities if private businesses are prevented from starting up in the area.

The lifting of the evacuation order for Nahara will be the first case among the seven municipalities in which almost all the residents as well as municipal governments were forced to evacuate.

The majority of the town’s 7,400 residents currently live in temporary housing and publicly subsidized apartments in other parts of Fukushima Prefecture or elsewhere. They will be allowed to return home permanently once the evacuation order is removed.

Even after the evacuation order is lifted, residents can remain living in the temporary shelters and other dwellings where they currently reside rent-free until March 2017.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled plant, has also pledged to continue paying compensation to all residents until at least March 2018.

On June 17, Takagi had proposed lifting the evacuation order before the Bon holiday period in mid-August, but this plan was opposed by local officials and residents who argued that not enough had been done to restore the town’s environment.

The central government pushed back the date to Sept. 5, assessing the government’s efforts have met three criteria necessary to lift the evacuation order: lower airborne radiation, improved infrastructure and administrative services, and a sufficient consultation period for residents and the local authority to discuss the situation with central government officials.

Goverment proposes lifting evacuation order for town of Naraha by mid-August, japan times, 6/17/2015

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/17/national/goverment-proposes-lifting-evacuation-order-town-naraha-mid-august/#.VYa0X-eVj0o

The government on Wednesday proposed lifting by around mid-August the evacuation order for one of the towns in Fukushima Prefecture that has stood empty since the nuclear crisis began in 2011.

Most of the town of Naraha sits within 20 km of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but radiation cleanup efforts have been under way in a bid to return around 7,500 residents to their homes.

Naraha is one of 10 remaining municipalities still subject to evacuation orders. The government estimated as of last October that about 79,000 people were unable to return to their homes.

The proposal for Nahara came after the government decided recently to lift all evacuation orders by March 2017 except for areas radiation levels are expected to remain high.

The government told the Naraha Municipal Assembly on Wednesday that it hopes to lift the evacuation order by the mid-August Bon holidays. Yosuke Takagi, senior vice industry minister who is dealing with nuclear disaster issues added that the government does not intend to “force” residents to return home.

“Whether to return is up to each person. . . . Even if we lift the order, we want to continue working substantially on measures to rebuild Nahara,” he said.

A local assembly member said the plan to lift the order by Bon was “abrupt,” while another member pointed out that the town has not recovered to a point where people can return without worrying about food safety or their homes.

As part of preparations, residents have already been allowed to enter the town and stay there for short periods, officials said.

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