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Response overwhelming for Fukushima decontamination workshops via asahi japan watch

By SHUNSUKE KIMURA / Staff Writer

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Some were looking for work. Others just wanted to help out. And still others were simply eager to finally return to their hometowns.

They were among 113 people who attended the first workshop for business operators on the basics of decontaminating materials in areas outside the “no entry” zone, which is within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Participants included those in the construction, painting and cleaning industries.

The workshop, held on Oct. 4 and 5 in Koriyama, was designed to train local personnel who can join the decontamination operations of the central government and local governments, which will shift into full gear next year.

“The decontamination operation encompasses broad areas,” said an official with the Fukushima prefectural government, which organized the program. “We want to carry it out by utilizing the private-sector force because the task is too enormous to be handled by the public sector alone.”

The program is also intended to offer employment opportunities to people who have been out of work since the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis dealt a serious blow to the local economy.

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