Japan’s government has lifted an evacuation order for Naraha Town, near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The measure took effect on Friday at midnight. Nearly all of the area is located 20 kilometers from the plant in FukushimaPrefectureand was subject to the March 2011 evacuation order.
The government says decontamination has been completed in the area. Officials say the town’s environment is almost ready for residents to return to their homes.
This is the third evacuation order to be lifted since the accident. The previous 2 were the Miyakoji district in Tamura City and the eastern part of Kawauchi Village.
But Naraha is the first municipality among the 7 towns and villages around the plant to have its evacuation order lifted.
These 7 municipalities totally emptied of residents, as well as local government workers. The evacuation was ordered by the central government soon after the disaster.
The lifting of the evacuation order allows the town’s approximately 7,300 residents to return to their homes. It also permits them to resume commercial and business activities.
At the same time, the town faces the challenge of addressing residents’ concerns about radiation and building a safe environment for its residents. It also faces the task of resuming the town’s commercial and medical services for the first time in 4-and-a-half years.
An evacuation order remains in place for about 70,000 people in 9 municipalities surrounding the Daiichi plant.
The central government plans to lift the order for the remaining municipalities once decontamination is complete and services are capable of supporting people’s lives.