20 October 2012
Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, and the central government have agreed to lift an evacuation order for residents in 16 administrative districts of the village in March 2014 ahead of the village's original plan.
All the residents in the village have been evacuated since the outbreak in March 2011 of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
The municipal government and assembly of the Iitate village and the local office of the central government's anti-disaster office reached the accord in a meeting held at the village government's Iino branch office in the prefectural capital of Fukushima on Oct. 19. This marked the first decision on the timing of the lifting of the evacuation order.
Originally, the village government and assembly planned to set the timing of the lifting of the evacuation order for the 16 districts, including the central parts of the village, in March 2015 because of slow progress of the decontamination work done by the central government.
But as the central government promised to complete the decontamination work as planned, the village agreed to move up the timing of the lifting of the evacuation order by a year.
For other districts of the village, the local and central governments agreed to lift the evacuation order for residents in the Nagadoro administrative district in southern Iitate in March 2017. The Nagadoro district is designated as a zone where the return of evacuees is difficult for a long period of time due to high levels of radiation.
They also agreed to lift the evacuation order for residents in the three administrative districts of Hiso, Maeta-Yawagi and Warabidaira in March 2016. The three districts are designated as a residence-restricted zone with visitation-only access because of relatively high levels of radiation, municipal government officials said.
The timings of the lifting of the evacuation order could be postponed if the decontamination work is not completed, the officials said.
The decision on the timing of the lifting of the evacuation order would pave the way to fix the amount of damages to be paid to the residents and help them put their daily lives back in order.
Residents in the Nagadoro district would be fully compensated for their real estate holdings, such as houses and their land sites.
Residents in the three districts of Hiso, Maeta-Yawagi and Warabidaira would be paid five-sixths of the value of their property. Half of the value of properties would be paid to residents in the 16 other districts.
Damages for the residents' mental suffering would be paid until the evacuation order is lifted, the officials said.
(Translated by Kyodo News)