Tokyo: The Japanese government has said it will lift its advisory for residents living in areas outside the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that have been designated for evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Goshi Hosono, minister in charge of the nuclear crisis, said at a news conference that the decision was made after the government’s nuclear disaster task force concluded there is a low risk of further hydrogen explosions and cooling system failures at the Fukushima plant.
It will be the first time that the government lifts one of the evacuation advisories or orders it has issued since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The decision follows the completion in mid-July of the first phase of work to bring the nuclear plant under control.
Hosono said at a news conference that “the shift from Step 1 to Step 2 became a turning point” for the government to review its evacuation policy.
The advisory covers five municipalities — the town of Hirono and some districts in Naraha, Kawauchi, Tamura and Minamisoma — where the roughly 58,500 residents were told in late April to be prepared to evacuate or remain indoors in the event of an emergency. About 25,800 people have since been evacuated.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at the task force meeting, which was open to the press, that the government will actively deal with the next step of thoroughly decontaminating the areas to ensure that the “residents can be at ease when returning home.” Zeenews