A recent survey made by Mainichi Shimbun has revealed that only seven out of twenty one prefectures that have urgent protective action zones or UPZ have been able to secure places for evacuating residents. UPZ are zones within 30 kilometers of a nuclear power plant where protective actions, such as evacuation of residents, must be taken in the event of a nuclear disaster.
The Mainichi asked prefectural governments that host the nation’s nuclear power plants on their preparedness for disasters. It focused on topics such as shelters and methods of evacuation. The prefectures of Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki have all claimed that they have fully secured places to take in evacuees. Some of these shelters include cities and towns that have agreed to take on evacuees, while others are public facilities. On the other hand, six prefectures, including Aomori, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Fukui, Shiga and Kagoshima, have only partially secured shelters. Ibaraki Prefecture, in particular, is having logistics problems since it has the largest concentration of residents in a single UPZ, about 930,000 people. Shizuoka Prefecture, which has around 740,000 residents in its UPZ, says it still needs to investigate their options. Only the prefectures of Yamaguchi and Fukuoka have decided on its evacuation methods. 12 prefectures have said they will suggest or allow evacuation by cars, contrary to the central government’s recommendation to evacuate on foot when fleeing from a tsunami.
Toyoma Prefecture has said that it has finished stockpiling iodine preparations to protect thyroid glands against radioactive iodine. 16 prefectures, including Ibaraki, have not yet decided on a course of action and is waiting for the central government’s decision regarding the matter.
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