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11 April, 2019

Some Evacuation Orders in Okuma Town to Be Lifted on April 10, with New Town Office to Start Operation in May

On April 5, the Japanese government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters decided to lift evacuation orders in the Okawara and Nakayashiki Districts of Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, as of April 10.

Okawara had been designated as an area “where an evacuation order will soon be lifted,” while Nakayashiki was an area “where living is not permitted.” These are the first liftings of evacuation orders issued because of the nuclear disaster since Tomioka Town had its lifted in April 2017.

According to the Cabinet Office’s team in charge of assisting in the lives of disaster victims, the areas involved constitute a combined 30 square kilometers, or 38 percent of the whole of Okuma Town. As of the end of March 2019, 367 people in 138 households were officially registered as residents.

At present, town office functions are carried out from branches in Aizuwakamatsu City and two other locations in Fukushima Prefecture. In anticipation of the liftings, preparations have been underway for a new town office in the Okawara District. An opening ceremony will take place on April 14, with operations to begin at the new office at the end of the coming Golden Week holidays (that is, starting on May 7).

The Okawara District has been designated as the base for restoration of Okuma Town. Since 2015, the Fukushima Revitalization Meal Service Center has been in operation there, procuring ingredients and cooking up to 3,000 meals per day for workers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs).

In Futaba Town, another municipality hosting the Fukushima Daiichi station, infrastructure is progressively being developed. Talks have been taking place with the prefecture on a target for lifting evacuation orders there as well, probably in March 2020.

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