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The Status in Fukushima

In response to the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011, a 'Restricted Area', where entry is prohibited, has been designated in the 20km radius around the nuclear plant. Furthermore, in the areas beyond the 20km radius, where there remain concerns that cumulative doses of radiation might reach 20mSv within a year, have been designated as a 'Deliberate Evacuation Area'.

In total, approximately 154,000 people have evacuated from Fukushima, of which 109,000 are from the "Evacuation Order Area". Evacuation zonings have been reviewed or are currently under review in areas where radiation is considered to be below safe levels, while decontamination efforts have been accelerated.

Both the 'Restricted Area' and the 'Deliberate Evacuation Area' have been under review and by April 1, 2013, zoning for 9 municipalities will be rearranged as follows:

  • Areas to which evacuation orders are ready to be lifted
  • Areas in which the residents are not permitted to live
  • Areas where it is expected that the residents have difficulties in returning for a long time

Given the complexity of the disaster, which was caused by multiple factors including earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, there are a number of unprecedented challenges, such as decontamination and review of evacuation area to be overcome.

In order to respond to these challenges, the government is taking a hands-on approach to supporting reconstruction and to improving the administrative structure to facilitate a less "vertically-segmented" system. In early 2013 the government established the "Fukushima Headquarters for Reconstruction and Revitalization" to work in parallel with the newly established "Tokyo Headquarters for Fukushima Reconstruction and Revitalization" at the Reconstruction Agency.

The Fukushima Headquarters for Reconstruction and Revitalization brings together the Fukushima Regional Bureau of Reconstruction, the Fukushima Office for Environmental Restoration working to coordinate decontamination efforts in areas impacted by the nuclear accident, and the local Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, focused on reviewing the designated evacuation zone.