No. of Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees drops below 120,000

The number of Fukushima residents who remain evacuated as a result of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, including those who have evacuated voluntarily, totaled 118,862 as of January this year, falling below the 120,000 mark, according to figures announced by the prefectural government on Feb. 12. The number of evacuees staying within the prefecture totaled 73,077 as of Jan. 30, while evacuees who moved outside the northeastern Japan prefecture numbered 45,735 as of Jan. 15. Changes in the number of evacuees are shown in the accompanying chart. Compared with the peak in June 2012, the number of evacuees within the prefecture declined by 29,103 and those living elsewhere were down by 16,303. The prefectural government said it believes the decreasing level of airborne radiation as a result of decontamination work as well as natural reduction contributed to the return of residents. At the same time, some residents are believed to have returned to their homes in Fukushima due to the increasing economic burden of prolonged evacuation.