The central government has unveiled a plan to begin temporary home stays on Aug. 21 at the homes of evacuated residents in Tomioka town, south of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Fukushima Prefecture. The plan, disclosed at a meeting of all town assembly members on July 22, will be limited to a zone preparing to lift an evacuation order and a residency-restricted zone. The government is seeking to remove both zones as early as next April.
The proposed temporary home stay scheme will replace the special lodging system that began on July 23 in line with the start of a summer vacation at schools. The government also told the meeting, held at a temporary town branch office in Koriyama city, it will specify by the turn of the year when the evacuation zones will be lifted, except for a “difficult-to-return” zone.
In the two zones, decontamination work has been almost completed in residential areas. Two convenience stores have opened, and a municipal clinic is scheduled to begin medical services in October. The town’s expert committee discussing the permanent return of residents announced on July 21 that “minimum municipal functions necessary for daily living are expected to be restored by the end of fiscal 2016.” Given the situation, the government has concluded that it is possible to implement preparatory home stays.
At the meeting, government officials said plans are on the table to set up temporary accommodation for evacuees returning under the preparatory lodging scheme and introduce mobile shops. Some assembly members called for the full resumption of the Futaba Police Station’s main office in Tomioka, currently reopened partially, to help dispel anxiety over public safety among townspeople, while others requested the display of a town radiation dosage map, including “hot spots” where radiation levels are high.
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The town of Tomioka, wholly evacuated due to the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, is poised to open a municipal clinic in the fall of 2016 ahead of the start of evacuees’ returning home. An outline of the planned clinic to be set up in the Kobama district envisions the initial practice of internal medicine with a staff of nine people, including a physician, starting in October that year. The plan was revealed by the town office at a meeting of all municipal assembly members on Dec. 7.
The clinic will be administered by Satoshi Imamura, a physician who operated Imamura Hospital in the town until the disaster. Imamura, who currently lives in Kanagawa Prefecture as an evacuee, will double as a physician at the new clinic. The planned medical facility will also be staffed by three nurses, a radiology therapist, a pharmacist, an office clerk, a medical accountant and a janitor.
The town is seeking to launch the return of evacuees as early as April 2017. During fiscal 2016 beginning next April, the clinic is expected to open for three days a week — Thursday, Friday and Saturday – when many evacuees visit their homes on a temporary basis. The town plans to operate the clinic for five weekdays in and after April 2017. It will consider expanding the clinic to include surgery and other departments of diagnosis and treatment in the future.
(Translated by Kyodo News)
The municipal government of Tomioka, where the entire town remains evacuated as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster in 2011 at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, resumed some official on-site duties on Oct. 1 for the first time in about four years and seven months. Some 20 officials of the town’s reconstruction promotion and restoration divisions moved to its health center next to the town office from the municipal government’s temporary branch office in the neighboring town of Naraha.
The reconstruction promotion division is in charge of listening to residents’ requests and opinions about such issues as the Environment Ministry’s decontamination work in residential areas and the demolition of damaged houses. The restoration division, on the other hand, takes care of repairing roads and waterworks, putting back in place the damaged social infrastructure and paving the way for residents to return home “as early as April 2017.”
About 30 town officials and others attended an opening ceremony at the health center. “In aiming for the town’s revival, we have moved (two) important divisions back to town and I hope this will help accelerate recovery and reconstruction,” Tomioka Mayor Koichi Miyamoto said in his greetings.
Yoshimi Tsukano, chairman of the town’s assembly, and Fukushima Vice Gov. Masaaki Suzuki both delivered congratulatory speeches, followed by the unveiling of the office’s signboard by Miyamoto and other officials.
In his address to Tomioka resumes some town duties after hiatus of 4 years, 7 months
The municipal government of Tomioka, where the entire town remains evacuated as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster in 2011 at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, re
the staff members inside the office, the mayor instructed them to do their best in meeting townspeople’s needs. A mutual-aid association formed by town officials planted a “sakura” cherry seedling as a symbol of their hopes for the town’s reconstruction.
(Translated by Kyodo News)
Tomioka town authorities will preserve a police car wrecked by the massive tsunami caused by the 2011 earthquake as a symbol of bravery displayed by two off-duty police officers who died as they rushed to save residents. Mayor Koichi Miyamoto announced the decision on Dec. 16 at the start of a municipal assembly session. The town plans to begin preparations for the car’s preservation within the current fiscal year ending next March.
The officers were superintendant Yoichi Masuko, then 41, and assistant inspector Yuta Sato, then 24. They have been posthumously promoted by two ranks in honor of their dedicated service. The two were believed to have been engulfed by the tsunami while guiding residents to safety.
A government ban on road traffic imposed on a section of National Route 6 running north to south through the Hamadori coastal region of Fukushima Prefecture was lifted at midnight on Sept. 14, allowing the entire highway to open to traffic for the first time since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster three and a half years ago. The ban had been in force in a Futaba County area where residency is restricted due to radioactive contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Reopened was a 14-kilometer stretch passing through the towns of Tomioka, Okuma and Futaba. Restrictions on vehicle traffic along a 1.7-km portion of a prefectural road in Tomioka, linking Route 6 and the Tomioka interchange of the Joban Expressway, were also removed. Previously, only vehicles with special permits were allowed to travel the section.
But traffic from the highway to side roads remains closed in principle for crime prevention except for residents with temporary entry permits. Motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians are still not allowed due to the higher risk of exposure to radiation from the nuclear plant. No parking is permitted along the affected stretch.
According to the Environment Ministry, the average amount of radioactivity along the 14-km stretch after decontamination work is 3.8 microsieverts per hour and the maximum hourly count is 17.3 microsieverts measured at a point near the nuclear power plant in Okuma.