After almost three years since Fukushima nuclear power plant was crippled by a violent earthquake and tsunami, Japan’s government will allow some of the residents of the Miyakoji district to go back to their homes starting with April 1, when the evacuation order will be formally lifted.
Around 31,000 from Japan’s 138,000 evacuees will return home in the next two years, the officials are estimating. At the moment, people who had to leave their homes are living in temporary accommodation.
While residents were told recently that radiation levels had lowered enough not to be harmful anymore, many remain doubtful of how effective decontamination efforts in the area have actually been, according to the international press.
One reason the government is attempting to fast track people’s return home is cost, the Asahi Shinbun newspaper reports. Citing industry ministry figures, the paper says, as of February, the government has already shelled out $14.63 billion in compensation to evacuees from 11 municipalities.
“Compensation (paid by the government and Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power) will continue, in terms of properties and the disaster-led joblessness,” a Cabinet Office official said.
“But the monthly pay of Y100,000 ($980) to address emotional distress caused by the accident will end if residents decide to return home,” he said.
On March 2011, the coast of Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude quake, followed by a disastrous tsunami that killed around 18,000 people across the country and crippled the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, causing three reactors to melt down.