For the next fiscal year’s budget, the Ministry of the Environment has requested to set 840.5 billion yen (approx. $8.55 billion) for residents returning to Fukushima. The budget will be used for dosimeters that will be distributed to residents as well as consultation fees, among others. About 34,000 residents were forced to evacuate following the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in 2011, but some are expected to return to their homes as evacuation orders for several areas will soon be lifted.
During the environmental council of the New Komeito Party on Tuesday, the Environment Ministry presented the request for the budget to be allotted for the Fukushima evacuees. Costs for consultation fees and small dosimeters, which will be given to the returning Fukushima residents in “areas preparing for the lifting of evacuation orders,” make up 2.7 billion yen ($27.5 million) of the request. The ministry has also set 326.2 billion yen ($3.32 billion) to cover the costs of decontamination works. However, the ministry made no mention of how much it will cost to build storage facilities for contaminated soil. The location of the storage facilities is also yet to be determined.
Beginning August 1, residents of Tamura’s Miyakoji District were given dosimeters. The government said it will continue the distribution until the end of October, as the district’s residents are allowed to stay for three months. Meanwhile, other residents that are wanting to return home are just waiting for the evacuation orders to be lifted from the areas where the lived before the 2011 disaster.