Public housing complex completed in Minamisoma city’s evacuated area

A public residential complex was completed on March 18 in Minamisoma city’s Odaka district, the first such structure in a Fukushima Prefecture area evacuated after the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. At a ceremony marking the completion, door keys were delivered to residents planning to live in the Odaka Higashi-machi complex. A government evacuation order is still in place in the district and when to lift the order has yet to be decided. But progress in decontamination work and other reconstruction efforts have opened the way for evacuees to stay temporarily at their homes there in a practice known as “preparatory lodging” ahead of permanent returns. Some evacuees are expected to begin living in the district after finishing procedures for preparatory stays on and after April 1 when the complex formally opens. The complex is located in a downtown area about 200 meters west of Odaka Station on East Japan Railway’s Joban Line. It is close to a temporary shopping mall set up by the city office and the municipal Odaka Hospital. The complex consists of 14 one-story two-bedroom houses and six two-story three-bedroom residences, encircling a building to be used as an assembly hall. Already 17 families have decided to move into the complex. Minamisoma plans to build 11 housing complexes accommodating 350 evacuee families within the city, with five of them completed, including the latest one. The remaining six complexes are scheduled for completion by the end of March. (Translated by Kyodo News)