December 29, 2014

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–The central government lifted on Dec. 28 the last recommended evacuation advisory for several districts in this city, saying radiation levels from the nuclear accident fell below the annual exposure limit.

However, many of the residents of 152 households within these districts voiced their opposition to the lifting.

The central government designated areas that registered high radiation levels outside the zones under mandatory evacuation orders as specific recommended evacuation spots following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The residents living within these locales were encouraged to evacuate from their homes.

The districts in Minami-Soma were designated as such because they were at risk of exceeding the annual accumulated dose limit of 20 millisieverts, or 3.8 microsieverts per hour.

The central government in June 2011 issued the advisory for some locales in the cities of Minami-Soma and Date and the village of Kawauchi, all in Fukushima Prefecture, home to 281 households. The advisory for Date and Kawauchi was lifted earlier.

Central government officials explained their latest decision to the residents and local officials, saying that the health risks are not expected because radiation levels in their sites now measure well below the designated limit of 20 millisieverts.

They also presented support measures to encourage the residents to return to their homes.

However, evacuee Katsuji Sato, among the residents of the 152 households, said he would not immediately return home.

The 79-year-old, who lives in temporary housing in Minami-Soma, had lived in a family of six of four generations before the Great East Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, set off the nuclear disaster.

Sato’s mother died where she evacuated to, and his eldest son, the son’s wife and their elementary school child moved to Miyagi Prefecture.

“My wife and I cannot return to our home even though we want to unless decontamination work is undertaken again,” Sato said.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

xThe head of the Takakura district, right, reads aloud a statement in opposition to the lifting of a recommended evacuation advisory to officials of the nuclear emergency local response headquarters

in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 21.