Japan lets kids return near Fukushima nuclear plant via Reuters

By Yoko Kubota

TOKYO | Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:10pm IST

(Reuters) – Japan will let children and pregnant women return to certain areas near the Fukushima nuclear plant, the trade minister said on Friday, following an improvement in living conditions after a huge earthquake and tsunami in March.

Schools have been shut down in these areas located within the 20-30 km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where about 60,000 people lived prior to the radiation leaks from the nuclear plant.

Though evacuation was not mandatory for residents as the radioactivity was within limits, some 30,000 left these areas, a spokesman at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

“We have taken a sound step towards rebuilding and reconstruction in areas suffering damages from the nuclear disaster,” Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who oversees economic damages from the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

“We recognise those who evacuated from this zone are concerned about radiation contamination and infrastructure,” he said, adding the government will help clean these areas and organise social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

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◇ Related article (off site):

Japan Lifts Evacuation Advisories Near Nuclear Plant via The New York Times

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