Evacuation begins from widened no-go zone near Fukushima plant

Japan started the first evacuations outside a government exclusion zone.

Last Updated: May 15, 2011, 18:49 PM IST

Fukushima: Residents in Kawamata and
Iitate began leaving their homes Sunday after their living
areas were included in an evacuation radius the government
widened last month around the radiation-leaking Fukushima
nuclear power plant.

Kawamata Mayor Michio Furukawa met with some 50
residents in the first group of evacuees, including babies and
toddlers, telling them, "I know you are worried but we will
overcome difficulties together."

The government designated Kawamata and Iitate on April
22 as part of the area from which residents would be required
to leave in roughly one month`s time, as cumulative radiation
exposure is expected to exceed the yardstick of 20
millisieverts during the course of a year.

Masahiro Kanno, a 34-year-old Kawamata resident with
two sons aged 5 and 8, was unhappy with the evacuation order.

"It sounds strange that the government first said we
have nothing to worry but suddenly told us to leave," he said.

The government set the additional no-entry area
outside the original evacuation zone in the 20-kilometer
radius of the Fukushima Daiichi complex crippled by the March
11 mega earthquake and tsunami waves.