Japanese Govenment insisting on making priorly evacuated people to return to live in highly contaminated areas
Full-scale decontamination work has begun in one of the areas in Fukushima Prefecture that received the highest doses of radioactive fallout from the 2011 nuclear accident.
About 30 workers gathered at an elementary school in the town of Okuma on Friday. They used heavy machinery to remove top soil from the playground.
Okuma partly hosts the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The government has determined that some parts of the town will remain restricted areas where people will not live for an extended time.
In these restricted zones, decontamination work had only been carried out on an experimental basis.
But at the request of town officials, the Environment Ministry decided to launch full-scale cleanup work targeting a district where there are a lot of schools and public facilities.
The ministry plans to finish decontaminating the roughly 95-hectare area by next March.
Similar restricted zones exist in 6 other municipalities in Fukushima.
Ministry officials plan to decide whether to start decontaminating them after checking their radiation levels and the wishes of the residents.