Japan lifts entry ban in some parts of Fukushima
Residents of Tamura city and Kawauchi village in Fukushima Prefecture will now be allowed to freely enter the areas without taking protective measures.
Tokyo: Japan on Sunday lifted its entry ban on residents living near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was affected by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and deadly tsunami last year.
Residents of Tamura city and Kawauchi village in Fukushima Prefecture, where radiation levels are relatively low, will now be allowed to freely enter the areas without taking protective measures against radiation exposure although they cannot stay overnight.
It was the first revision of the government's designation of evacuation zones in the current no-go zone within a 20-kilometre radius from the plant since the nuclear accident, which was triggered by the earthquake and tsunami disaster on March 11 last year, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.
Under the government's reclassification, in zones where radiation levels exceed 50 millisieverts per year and are expected to remain at or above 20 millisieverts over the next five years, the return of evacuees will be designated as difficult.
The government's current yardstick for evacuation is 20 millisieverts a year. Soon after the March 11 nuclear plant disaster, the government issued an evacuation directive for residents within a 20-kilometre radius from the plant.
Later, however, it designated areas with high radiation levels outside the no-go zone as emergency evacuation preparation areas where residents were required to evacuate within one month.
The massive earthquake and tsunami had destroyed the nuclear plant's cooling systems and sparked reactor meltdowns. Besides, the natural disasters had killed some 19,000 people and forced around 78,000 in the 20km ring around the nuclear plant to flee.
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