The no-go zone designation has finally been lifted for Namie, one of the towns nearest the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The Fukushima Prefecture has also been re-organized into three evacuation zones, depending on the approximated annual radiation doses. Futaba, one of the two host towns of the Fukushima plant, is now the only municipality that is still a no-go designation zone.
Residents of Namie’s eastern coastal area which housed about 20,000 people who were evacuated during the nuclear meltdown in 2011, can now enter two of the zones, but will not be allowed to stay overnight. Staff members have been stationed at the municipal office to monitor and help out the residents who will be making their entry into the area, most of them the first time since the disaster two years ago.
Two of the evacuation zones, one with an estimated annual radiation dose of 20 millisieverts or less and the other one between 20-50 millisieverts , will have its evacuation advisory lifted by 2016 if estimates are correct. But the third zone, because of its high estimated radiation (over 50 millisieverts per year), is still a restricted area, probably until 2017.
Just last week, Google Street View published pictures of the abandoned town, as part of a project initiated by town mayor Tamotsu Baba. He wanted to make sure that the world did not forget that not all of Japan has recovered from the 2011 disaster and that his town’s residents are still displaced up to this day. The lifting of the no-go zone is one step towards Namie’s long process of recovery.
[via Jiji Press]