On February 7, as part of promoting Fukushima reconstruction, the Cabinet decided on an amendment to the Act on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, including creation of Specified Living Areas for Returnees (tentative name).
In a 2017 amendment to the act, a system was created whereby city, town and village heads could establish Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases in areas designated as “where residents will not be able to return home for a long time.” The bases would serve toward the rebuilding and restarting of lives for original residents, those moving from other areas, and regional economies. In such areas, decontamination and infrastructure development have been conducted extensively, and evacuation orders have been partially lifted.
Outside of such areas, however, residents who wish to go back home have been forced to continue living as evacuees. In 2021, the government decided to conduct necessary decontamination so that residents who want to go back to their homes may return throughout the 2020s to areas outside the base areas, i.e., outside the Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases.
In the implementation of that policy, municipal heads will create Specified Living Areas for Returnees (tentative name) outside the Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases, to enable residents to return and restart their lives as a result of the lifting of evacuation orders.
The areas may be established to include land for housing, roads, meeting places and cemeteries, with the following requirements:
- That radiation levels be below standard values.
- That a unified daily living area be available, allowing residents to rebuild the lives that they used to have at their own residences before the accident.
- That efficient public facilities, etc., be planned and developed.
- That reconstruction and revitalization be implemented in unity with the Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases.
Heads of municipalities will prepare Plans for Reconstruction and Revitalization of Specified Living Areas for Returnees (tentative name), including areas to be established as Specified Living Areas for Returnees and the building of public facilities, which will be recognized by the government.
Through this system, the government will proceed steadily toward the lifting of evacuation orders, also realizing the return of residents who intend to go back and backing up the reconstruction of entire municipalities via recovery of resident populations.