Japan lifts evacuation in parts of Fukushima plant hometown

April 09, 2019 - 9:03 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has partially lifted an evacuation order in one of the two hometowns of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant for the first time since the 2011 disaster.

The action taken Wednesday allows people to return about 40 percent of Okuma. The other hometown, Futaba, remains off-limits as are several other towns nearby.

Decontamination efforts have lowered radiation levels significantly in the area about 7 kilometers (4 miles) southwest of the plant where three reactors had meltdowns due to the damage caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Many former residents are reluctant to return as the complicated process to safely decommission the plant continues. Opponents of lifting the evacuation orders in long-abandoned communities say the government is promoting their return to showcase safety ahead of Tokyo Olympics.

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