Debris removal begins in Tomioka town 3 years, 9 months after disaster

Work began to remove broken houses and other wreckage left over in Tomioka on Dec. 11, three years and nine months after the Fukushima Prefecture town and other parts of northeastern Japan were devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The town is close to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. and remains a no-go zone due to high levels of radiation, leaving all residents evacuated. The Environment Ministry project is aimed at moving about 7,500 tons out of an estimated 34,000 tons of debris left in Tomioka by the tsunami to a temporary storage facility in the town by the end of fiscal 2014 through next March. The remaining 26,500 tons will be removed in fiscal 2015. On the first day of the project, workers sorted out debris in the Kegaya district after measuring radiation levels to find items of sentimental value to residents such as family albums, ornaments and children's stationery.