Just when residents could hope to return home by next year, the Ministry of Environment revealed Monday some changes that spell no good news to residents from the exclusion zone in Fukushima. According to the ministry, it may take a year or more before residents can return home.
Six of the 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture will have to wait longer as the Environment Ministry decided to extend cleanup efforts in the affected areas. The original plan was supposed to have completed the decontamination by March next year, three years after the nuclear meltdown that was triggered by a tsunami. Although initial decontamination has given some residents the green light to visit their homes during day time, they still cannot live in their former residents.
“We would have to extend the cleanup process, by one year, two years or three years, we haven’t exactly decided yet,” said Shigeyoshi Sato, an official from the Environment Ministry in charge of the decontamination efforts. According to Sato, one reason for the delay is resident’s opposition in having radioactive waste dumped in their neighborhood. This is not the first time that the government found no place to dump the debris.
Besides location or residential issues, the government is also struggling with how to restore local communities. More troubling, however, is how to ensure food safety and job security. With the never-ending issues regarding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, people have been wary and cynical in buying produce from the prefecture.
[via The Republic]