Tokyo: The Japanese government has said it
will lift its advisory for residents living in areas outside the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that have been designated for evacuation
in the event of an emergency.
Goshi Hosono, minister in charge of the nuclear crisis,
said at a news conference that the decision was made after the
government`s nuclear disaster task force concluded there is a
low risk of further hydrogen explosions and cooling system
failures at the Fukushima plant.
It will be the first time that the government lifts one of
the evacuation advisories or orders it has issued since the
March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The decision follows the
completion in mid-July of the first phase of work to bring the
nuclear plant under control.
Hosono said at a news conference that "the shift from Step
1 to Step 2 became a turning point" for the government to
review its evacuation policy.
The advisory covers five municipalities -- the town of
Hirono and some districts in Naraha, Kawauchi, Tamura and
Minamisoma -- where the roughly 58,500 residents were told in
late April to be prepared to evacuate or remain indoors in the
event of an emergency. About 25,800 people have since been
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at the task force meeting,
which was open to the press, that the government will actively
deal with the next step of thoroughly decontaminating the
areas to ensure that the "residents can be at ease when