Over half of residents in evacuated Fukushima town return home or intend to do

A government agency survey has found that more than half of residents in the once evacuated town of Naraha in Fukushima Prefecture, or 50.7%, already returned to their homes permanently or intend to do so. The Reconstruction Agency announced the results of the survey on March 4 on the eve of the half-year anniversary of the lifting of an evacuation order issued for the town and elsewhere in the prefecture after the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. According to the survey, 7.6% of the Naraha residents covered said they have already returned home, 34.7% answered that they will do so once conditions permitting permanent returns are in place, and 8.4% replied that they will return early. In the previous survey taken in October 2014 when the evacuation advisory was still in effect, 45.7% of residents surveyed showed their intention to return home. As some of the factors behind the rise past 50% in the proportion of returning residents, an agency official cited a growing momentum for homecoming fueled by the lifting of the evacuation order as well as the town’s restoration well under way. (Translated by Kyodo News)