Futaba town gov’t to relocate its functions to Fukushima Pref. by end of FY 2012

21 June 2012

The mayor of the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, Katsutaka Idogawa, said on June 20 that he plans to relocate the municipal government’s key functions to Fukushima Prefecture by the end of fiscal 2012 from Kazo, Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, to which it moved its functions following the outbreak of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Idogawa made this clear during a question-and-answer session of the town assembly held in Kazo, mentioning the return of the town government’s functions to Fukushima Prefecture for the first time.

The mayor is expected to consider relocating the town government’s functions to Fukushima Prefecture, mainly the city of Iwaki, respecting the intention of the town assembly, municipal government sources said.

The mayor also indicated willingness to build “temporary towns” within three years. Temporary towns are communities to be built outside the town for evacuees.

Idogawa also said he wishes to return the town government’s functions home to Futaba in 10 years on condition that the annual radiation dosage there falls below the upper limit of 1 millisievert at ordinary times.

The mayor appears to have decided to relocate the town government’s functions to Fukushima Prefecture on the basis of the assembly’s resolutions and the results of a survey of town residents, the sources said.

In response to questions at the assembly session, the mayor said he would relocate the town government’s key functions to Fukushima Prefecture as early as possible. He also said it will take time to complete talks with the government of the recipient municipality, pick the site and design a temporary town hall so that the construction of the temporary town office will be completed by the March 2013 end of fiscal 2012.

The mayor said he would pick the site for the temporary town office after fully studying whether it can provide effective administrative services for town residents and whether it can support the residents’ evacuation over the mid and long terms. He also noted the need to look into whether the temporary town office can serve as an anti-disaster facility but failed to mention any particular municipality as a possible candidate for the site of the temporary town office.

Idogawa told reporters after the assembly session, “It’s true that many town residents wish to return (to Fukushima Prefecture.) But we need to avoid unwanted exposure to radiation. ”

He indicated he would pick the site among candidate municipalities that clear the condition that the annual radiation dosage falls below the upper limit of 1 millisievert.

(Translated by Kyodo News)