2 empty police substations in evacuated areas manned again

29 March 2016

Police officers began to serve two unattended substations on March 28 in the Yamakiya district of Kawamata town and the Odaka districts of Miniamisoma city, both designated as evacuation zones in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Yamakiya substation belongs to Fukushima Police Station in Fukushima city and the other to Minamisoma Police Station.

On duty at the Yamakiya substation is Seiju Miura, a 58-year-old police sergeant. “A policeman always staying here puts residents at ease,” says Miura. He stays through the night at the substation, which also has living quarters.

Miura had staffed the substation in the daytime only since last August when evacuated residents started staying at their homes in the district on a temporary basis in preparation for permanent returns following progress in decontamination work. He stayed at the substation overnight on March 27 for the first time since the disaster.

But he feels road traffic on Route 114 is still low. He is determined to make the district safe to live in after evacuees return home permanently. On March 28, the police officer spoke to several people around in the district, including evacuee residents who have applied for preparatory lodging. One of them, Shuichi Ouchi, 67, welcomed him, saying: “Just seeing a policeman around makes me feel relieved.”

(Translated by Kyodo News)