Radiation decontamination workers cut grass in a special reconstruction promotion area at Katsurao, Fukushima Prefecture, in November 2018.

Nov 22, 2021

Katsurao, Fukushima Pref. – The village of Katsurao in Fukushima Prefecture is set to bolster preparations for the lifting of government evacuation orders related to the 2011 nuclear accident.

Starting Nov. 30, the village will allow residents to come back and stay in a special reconstruction promotion area set up in the village in preparation for their permanent return, the office of the village announced Sunday.

The village plans to lift the evacuation order for the 95-hectare special area around spring 2022.

Katsurao and five other municipalities in the prefecture have set up special reconstruction promotion areas. Katsurao will be the first among them to carry out preparatory stays by residents in these specialized zones.

Fukushima is home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, which was heavily damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011.

The village held a meeting Sunday on the planned preparatory stays. After village officials asked 18 residents who joined the meeting about the plan, the municipal and central governments decided the date to begin the preparatory stays.

Eighty-three people from 30 households had lived in the area designated for reconstruction before the nuclear accident.

The preparatory stays come as decontamination work and the construction of necessary infrastructure in the area were conducted as scheduled.

At the meeting, participants voiced concerns over radioactive contamination in the area.

In response, Katsurao Mayor Hiroshi Shinoki told reporters: “Safety and security are major issues. We aim to work for the lifting of the evacuation order while trying to obtain understanding from residents.”