Japan nuclear refugees face dilemma over returning home via The Star


After years of decontamination work, where teams remove topsoil, wash exposed road surfaces and wipe down buildings, the government will in September lift the evacuation order and declare it a safe place to live.

Other towns and villages will follow in coming months and years, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government aiming to lift many evacuation orders by March 2017.

A year after that, the monthly 100,000 yen ($800) in “psychological compensation” that plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has been ordered to pay to evacuees, will cease.


Greenpeace’s new study, published Tuesday, says only a quarter of Iitate has been decontaminated — predominatly roads, homes and a short buffer strip of woodland around inhabited areas.

“Levels of radiation in both decontaminated and non-decontaminated areas… make a return of the former inhabitants of Iitate not possible from a public health… perspective,” the report says.

A person living in the area could expect to absorb 20 times the internationally accepted level for public exposure, Greenpeace says.

“The levels of radiation in the forests, which pre-accident were an integral part of (life), are equivalent to radiaton levels within the Chernobyl 30-kilometre exclusion zone”, the report says, referring to the former USSR plant that saw one of the world’s worst-ever nuclear accidents.

“Over 118,000 people were permanently evacuated from the 30km zone around Chernobyl in April 1986, with no prospect or plans for them ever returning.”

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