TOKYO (dpa) – Japan on Sunday lifted an evacuation advisory in areas near a stricken nuclear power plant in the north-eastern region, despite opposition.
The move affects 152 households in the “hot spot” of Minamisoma city, where relatively higher radiation levels were found following a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.
Residents had been advised to leave their homes in the areas outsidethe no-go zone around the plant since June 2011. The government’s latest decision means all the advisories were lifted outside the no-go zone.
Leaders of the residents’ group in Minamisoma met government officials in Tokyo on Friday, urging them to repeal the decision. Yoichi Ozawa, one of the leaders, said the government ignored their opinions and that its decision was unilateral.
In October, when government officials met many residents in the city, all of them were against the move, saying levels of radiation are still high, the group said.
“I would like to protest against the decision because it was made within the government without the residents’ consent. The move would force them to be exposed to radiation,” Mizuho Fukushima, an upper house lawmaker of the Social Democratic Party told government officials on Friday.
Hidemichi Shimizu, an official at the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, said the government regularly continued monitoring radiation levels and made clean-up operations in the areas in response to locals’ concerns.